Champs Élysées: A History


Champs Élysées: Romantic Stroll or Tourist Trap ?

It seems that whenever people come to Paris, they have to see the Champs Élysées. I personally don't know what the big deal is. It's a street with a lot of expensive stores. I'm more interested in what is on it's ends, like the Arc de Triomphe or Place de la Concorde. And why is it considered so a romantic? I don't find overpriced cafés romantic at all. So what's the story behind this place? Maybe that will help me figure out the attraction to this street. 

It used to be fields

Before the reign of Louis XIV, the land where the Champs Élysées was an extension of the Tuileries gardens and the palace. Eventually it turned into a promenade and the field was transformed into a street with gardens on the sides.

It was a location where the nobility lived

The nobility always lived close to the king. And before Versailles the king lived in the Palais du Louvre. So the nobility lined the street of the Champs Élysées with riches, which is why the street today is so rich. As it got further developed, the nobility planted their gardens along the street, adding to its beauty.

The trees were used as firewood

After the fall of Napoleon, the famous trees were used as firewood during British and Russian invasions. Fortunately, the trees were replanted in order to preserve the original design of the street.

It holds military parades

Every 14th of July, a military parade takes place on the Champs Élysées. The Tour de France finishes on the Champs Élysées every year. It has held parades after victories, and even after the fall of France during World War II. Yes, Hitler had a parade down the street for defeating Paris. But a few years later Charles de Gaulle had a parade for the liberation of Paris. 

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