The unmissable Champs-Elysée, one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris
Just west of the centre in the 8th arrondissement, no trip to to the French capital is complete without a stroll along the iconic and oh-so-Parisian Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the boulevard is watched over proudly by the Arc de Triomphe which stands at one end, majestic and imposing as if emitting all the energy on which Paris thrives.
At just under 2km long it is easily walkable, with the option of skipping some bits out on the metro always an option. Starting at Place de la Concorde - the largest square in Paris - is a fantastic way to do it, with magnificent buildings greeting you before the Arc even creeps into sight. Before setting off westward up the boulevard, a quick look at Elysée Palace, home to the French President since 1848, is a must. After this, the stroll under the famous elm trees will take you past the Grand and Petit Palais, iconic buildings in their own right, and home to both fascinating permanent and temporary exhibitions. Keep a look out for statues of famous French figures of the past and the world leaders who’s names now grace the boulevard’s many tributaries!
The second half of this walk is dominated by the boutique shops with which Paris’s famous shopping culture has become synonymous and is home to Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Guerlain and Toyota to name just a few. Even if you don’t fancy parting with all of your euros, exploring some of the world’s most luxury brands is a typically Parisian experience.
Reaching the end presents you with the formidable sight of hundreds of cars circling the Arc de Triomphe and the roundabout which houses it. Luckily, a subway lets you pass beneath, leading you right up to Paris’s second-most famous landmark. Its ornate craftsmanship, and formidable presence at just shy of 50m is met with the poignancy of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the eternal flame which accompanies it and the 660 names inscribed upon it. A truly historical place, the Arc has many stories to tell and is the scene of some of the most important events in the history of France, perhaps most notably the liberation of the city in 1944. All in all, the Champs-Elysées is a unique experience and an absolute must for any visitor to Paris.
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