Champs-Elysées

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Champs-Elysées (The Elysian Fields) is probably the most famous promenade in Paris and one of the best-known in the world. Its name is taken from “Elusia” that in Greek mythology meant a place where heroes come to relax.

It stretches from the Palace de la Concorde in the east to the Arc de Triomphe that stands on the square of Charles de Gaulle in the west. Its western end is bordered by many luxury shops, cinemas, theatres, night clubs, cafés and fast foods. The other end is surrounded by the Champs-Elysées Gardens (Jardins des Champs-Elysées). This stunning arranged area is decorated with some fountains and there are grand buildings including the Grand Palais and the Petite Palais (both originally built as temporary constructions for World Fair) at the southern side and the Elysées (the residence of French Presidents since 1873) at the northern side of the Gardens.

The site of present-day Champs-Elysées was the area of fields in the 16th century. Its history started in 1616 when Marie de Medicis decided to create a long path lined with trees outside the city, going east from the Tuileries. In 1667 the road was redesigned by Le Nôtre and it became the part of the Tuileries Gardens (Jardins des Tuileries), although still not the part of the city. It was named “Grande Allée du Roule” or “Grand-Cours”. However, in 1694, it got its present name. In the 18th century (1724) the avenue was extended towards the Chaillot Hill (now known as l’Eloile). The street got its present shape in 1838 when Hittorf crated the Champs-Elysées Gardens. He also installed sidewalks, gas lamps and fountains. In 1900 the line Number 1 of Paris metro reached the Etoile station. Last changes of the avenue took quite recently, in 1994, and they were made by Bernard Huet. The road was narrowed, the side lines became pedestrian zones, an underground parking was created and new trees were planted.

Nowadays it is the place where Parisians celebrate most of the major events, such as New Year’s Eve, military parades held on the National Holiday on the 14th July or such events as celebrations of the victory in the World Cup football in 1998. It is also famous for being the last stage of Tour de France. Similarly in the past, Champs-Elysées was the place where many events were celebrated, like the liberation at the end of the World War II.
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