Paris has so many monumental buildings, it is hard to pinpoint one that is signature for the city. Some will say the Eiffel Tower, some will say Champs-Elysees, some will say Louvre museum. The best thing to do is visit all of them. Now, if you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ve probably had the luxury of walking down the Champs-Elysees. It is a feel of luxury under your skin you cannot get anywhere else. The avenue is crowded with cafes, shops, cinemas, and everything in between enriched with scenic horse chestnut trees. And beyond that beauty, lies an even bigger mystery and appreciation of the avenue. Here are some facts you probably did not know about the most famous street in the world.
– The architecture of the Champs-Elysees is influenced by the Second Empire and Third Republic of France. The architecture is typical of the Haussmann period. The architect was chosen for the renovation of Paris in the 19th century. He was heavily influenced by baroque architecture
– The Champs-Elysees is the second most expensive strip of real estate in Europe, right behind Bond Street in London
– There are little to no houses on the street, as the rent is just sky high. According to some estimates, houses pay annual rent as high $1.5 million per 1,1100 square feet of space
– The Champs-Elysees was originally nothing but fields. That is was until 1616, when Marie de Medici decided to put a long tree-lined pathway. Her idea was to extend the garden axis of the Palais des Tuileries with an avenue of trees. In 1667, Le Notre extended the avenue, and the Champs-Elysees was the most fashionable place in Paris for walking. The avenue was again extended in 1724 to the actual length, and it now extends up to the Arc de Triomphe
– The avenue became a city property in 1828 when the city added footpaths and fountains. The city also added gas lighting at the time
– As you can assume, the avenue is the most visited street of Paris. It can take you between 1 and 4 hours to walk the avenue, depending of your interest for history or your affinity to shopping
– The Champs-Elysees is 1910 meter long, and 70 meter wide. Combined with the Arc de Triomphe and other venues, the Champs represents a 7 kilometer straight line
– The Champs is just one of the 12 avenues radiating from Arc de Triomphe
– The shops are called “Les Champs” by Parisians
– Speaking of shops, the Champs is the home of the largest Gap store in the world, and the largest space Adidas has anywhere in the world
– The avenue is home for most of the five star hotels in Paris. Plazza Athenee and Royal Monceau are the best hotels in the city
– Initially, the city was against “banalisation”, or putting shopping stores in the area. The city even prohibited H&M from opening a store in 2007
– In 1975, the avenue became the concluding destination for Tour de France. The riders make between six and eight circuits back and forth on the avenue. What follows is an Awards ceremony
– The largest military parade in Europe passes down the Champs-Elysees every year on Bastille day (July 14).