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-   -   Champs Elysee: worth an afternoon or too tacky? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/champs-elysee-worth-an-afternoon-or-too-tacky-1458672/)

lovetotravel12 Jul 21st, 2017 08:57 AM

Champs Elysee: worth an afternoon or too tacky?
 
I have been to Paris several times and except for the first visit I have avoided the CE. That first visit was such a waste of precious time when compared to all the charming streets to wander in beautiful Paris. Now I am going again with Paris virgins and I'm doing the planning. What do you think about including it or not? We have precious little time. Can't wait to heat back!

greg Jul 21st, 2017 09:15 AM

You can do a trial walk at home now using google street view to see how it looks like now. Whether it is something you rather spend time on at the expense of something else is a personal taste.

I did a Promenade Plantee walk last month. Now that was a nice walk if you are into gardens especially a reservation at L'Ange 20 waited at the end of the walk.

Seamus Jul 21st, 2017 09:22 AM

It's a busy commercial street with little charm. Would not bother with more than a nice view from atop the Arc de Triomphe unless your objective is to waste time and money. Exception = winter evening when holiday lights are on display.

StuDudley Jul 21st, 2017 09:37 AM

There is some marvelous Belle Epoque and Hauseman architecture on the Champs Elysee. Also some interesting passages to explore. Just keep your eyes above the ground level storefronts so you don't get distracted by the commercial stuff.

Stu Dudley

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2017 10:33 AM

Yes worth an hour or so stroll just to have done it - if for nothing more.

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2017 11:11 AM

I love to walk and walk and walk in Paris - and for intrepid ramblers like moi a classic walk I do the first time I'm always in Paris is to walk straight as an arrow from the Louvre Courtyard thru the Tuileries and thru the busy as heck Place de la Concorde right up the Champs Elysees to Etoile and the Arc de Trimomph.

Great.

This Sunday's Tour de France bike race will go up the Champs as a grande finale as always.

fuzzbucket Jul 21st, 2017 12:07 PM

I'd choose boulevard Hausmann and the big department stores and boutiques over the Champs-Elysees any day. Uniqlo by the Opera Garnier would be a big hit.

If you want to see the Arc de Triomphe and at the other end Concorde, that would be enough.

The Champs-Elysees has mostly American stores, like Addidas, Gap and so on. There's really no reason to spend time here.

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2017 12:43 PM

But like tacky Times Square it has to be seen!

But if on a tight time budget skip it -can go at night when it is a popular area with its movie theaters and fast-food places, etc.

Macross Jul 21st, 2017 01:01 PM

I went for Longchamp and their prices were better than duty free.

Belinda Jul 21st, 2017 01:07 PM

If nothing else, go to the top of the Arch de Triumph for the spectacular views.

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2017 01:09 PM

Yes each way - east towards Louvre and west towards the Grande Arche de la Defense - a perfectly straight axis!

Cowboy1968 Jul 21st, 2017 01:32 PM

I would ask those "Paris virgins" you're planning the tour for.
I mean, you have been there, you can tell them what the Champs-Élysées are or aren't. And they can say if they are interested.

If the purpose is to show them a lively big city street with a bit more glamour, I'd also prefer the big department stores on blvd Haussmann over the Champs-Élysées. Though one must say in all fairness that you find the same set of chain stores like Zara, Mango, etc. regardless where you go.

Just curious.. What is so special about the Uniqlo store by Opéra Garnier?

VGF Jul 21st, 2017 01:38 PM

Unless you want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on brand names, the Champs-Elysees shouldn't take too long by itself, but the Arc de Triomphe is at one end. You can go under the road to the Arc via a tunnel. You can take the stairs up to the top for a small fee and have an amazing view of Paris in all directions. Made a long-lasting impression on us! Not to mention the Tour de France will be ending there in a couple of days. Of course, you won't be able to visit the Arc on that day.

PalenQ Jul 21st, 2017 01:47 PM

If the purpose is to show them a lively big city street with a bit more glamour, I'd also prefer the big department stores on blvd Haussmann over the Champs-Élysées>

That's just a few blocks long, right? and Paris is full of lively streets - they are all over but there is but one Champs Elysees - like it or not to me it is a must sight if only for a few minutes - Le Drugstore there used to be famous and a big draw especially late at night when most stores were closed.

In fact I believe the Champs got one of the first exceptions for the usual 7pm or so closing laws in Paris because it was a tourist zone.

Warts and all IMSO (in my subjective opinion) the Champs must be seen! It is the most famous street in Paris if not in Europe! It used to be especially crowded - jammed- at night.

I will never forget the street ventilation vents that blew air up from wherever for whatever reason from under the street - the metro perhaps - guys used to linger by the vents waiting for naive ladies to walk over them - blowing their dresses and skirts well above their waists! Not sure this still happens.

kerouac Jul 21st, 2017 07:34 PM

I agree with PalenQ on this one -- the Champs Elysées are a must to get a feel for the dynamics of modern Paris. Boulevard Haussmann is just an overcrowded and polluted thoroughfare that must be managed by people who absoutely want to see the department stores for some reason -- there is absolutely no sense of the vast expanses of the Champs Elysées, half of which consists of a lovely garden between Rond-Point and Concorde.

I worked on the Champs Elysées for most of my life, so I should hate the place, but I don't -- I am fascinated by the constant changes, such as the disappearance of all of the airline offices except Iran Air which owns the whole building (ironic that it is the location of the Nike superstore). The former Virgin Megastore is currently being converted into a new Galeries Lafayette store (2018) -- in a building owned by Qatar, just like the huge HSBC agency, also owned by Qatar and which will be turned into a shopping mall at an unspecified date when HSBC gets a new building (probably in La Défense for the French employees and the 1000 Brexit employees who are being transferred from the UK). Some transformations make me smile. The 1970's plastic Japan Airlines agency was converted into the fake Belle Epoque Ladurée restaurant in the 1990's. More recently, 5 Guys wrenched the lease from the Häagen Dazs franchise to move into France.

And of course, after dark the Champs Elysées turns into a street in Doha, where you can see Middle Eastern men in shorts and flip flops being followed by several wives sheathed in black and wearing metal face masks (the law against face coverings is not enforced on certain tourists) since they are only taken out at night.

It is one of the most fascinating areas in Paris.

kja Jul 21st, 2017 08:07 PM

I have no interest, whatsoever, in department stores. I would not want to walk Boulevard Haussmann if I had ANY alternative.

I have a sincere interest in urban gardens, well-preserved Belle Epoque architecture, and even a bit of history. I'm glad I visited the Champs Elysées.

To each his/her own.

IMDonehere Jul 21st, 2017 08:27 PM

One night, on one trip we were on the CE when the streetlights were turned on, quite a sight.

We are also on the CE about a week after the first McDonald's in Paris opened. You would have thought they opened a half-way house for child molesters.

And twice we ate, with about ten years in between, at Taillevent when M. Vrinat stood watch, which is a few blocks from the CE.

Yes it is it has lost some luster, but still worth a walk.

fuzzbucket Jul 21st, 2017 09:50 PM

Le Drugstore has re-opened and reportedly had good food.
Uniqlo has been advertised to the point that it will probably be tattoo'd on the Champs-Elysees virgins brains.

Cowboy1968 Jul 21st, 2017 10:36 PM

Yikes .. I think my comment would have (hopefully) made a bit more sense if I had not forgotten the word "shopping". In the sense that for anyone interested in shopping I find the department stores on Haussmann more tempting than the line-up of chain stores on the Champs.
Not that I'd think that Haussmann was a particular beautiful street in that area.

Thanks about the info on Uniqlo. I did not know that they just started in Paris.

massimop Jul 22nd, 2017 01:21 AM

>>"followed by several wives sheathed in black and wearing metal face masks"<<

A batoola is not made of metal, although it is made to look that way. It is made of leather or cloth.

https://en.vogue.me/beauty/oman-batoola-face-covering/

Unless you've gone around interviewing the people you gawk at, it's unlikely the women were all wives, especially if the men and women were from Doha,
or anywhere in Qatar, where polygamous marriage makes up less than 5% or all marriages. More likely a multi-generation extended family.


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