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Walking the Champs Elysees the afternoon we arrive in Paris.

Walking the Champs Elysees the afternoon we arrive in Paris.

Feb 23rd, 2006, 05:26 PM
  #1  
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Walking the Champs Elysees the afternoon we arrive in Paris.

We will be arriving in CDG Tuesday May 2nd around 2:40 (after spending a few days in Ireland). This will be our first visit to Paris and we are staying in the 8th. Our plan is to get to the Arc de Triomphe enjoy the views from the top and walk down Champs Elysees. We're not anticipating shopping but rather looking for a nice cafe to people watch, enjoy the ambiance and dinner (avec vin - of course)!
We plan to walk off our dinner continuing through Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries finally arriving at Pyramids square. We need to be at Pyramids square for the 10:00 Illuminations tour.
Since we have never been to Paris the length of that walk is what we're curious about. We are relatively athletic people so the "length" of the walk isn't a concern but more the timing. On that note, we've heard we may come across a street performer or two and would like to enjoy this rather than rush by ... not to mention the tons of Kodak moments I'm sure there is to be had along the way! Is this a comfortable/leisurely walk in that time frame?
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions?
jazzie is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 05:56 PM
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What time are you planning on having dinner, and how long are you staying in Paris? Why don't you simply take your walk the next day? Have a Nice Trip!!! Mike
barbmike is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:01 PM
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There are a couple of schools of thought on this...one, that you walk from the Arc de Triomphe because it's mostly downhill towards the Louvre/Tuilleries area. My thought (especially if you're the least bit athletic) that you take the subway to Place de la Concorde and walk TOWARDS the Arc...that way you get the view, and by the time you get there, you'll be closer to sunset and able to enjoy the top of the Arc at the time it is by far the most pleasureable.

Also, the Tuilleries end of the Champs Elysees is less retail, more parks, etc. By the time you get up towards the Arc it's a lot more shopping/cafe type stuff, and more exciting.

Personally, I'd start slow and work your way towards sunset at the Arc and a nice dinner.

Enjoy!

Jules
jules4je7 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 09:18 PM
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I too prefer walking toward the Arc than away from it. But remember, you can get the Metro quickly and easily from anywhere in the center of Paris to just about anywhere else. You can always Metro down to your Tuileries tour.

I find the walk from the Place de la Concorde through the Tuileries to the Louvre to be less interesting at night. It is a lot more fun on a beautiful day with people to watch, having fun in the park. At night, there won't be much going on at all.

Where do you plan to have dinner?
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 11:12 PM
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I'm far from any kind of expert, but my first impression of the Champs Elysees was that it wasn't the most charming boulevard with its huge retail stores, etc. I much preferred walking around the Marais, and even St. Germain Des Pres. I think it's a good idea to see it on a travel day as you're planning to do. Have a great trip.
fishee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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The only reason we planned starting at the Arc is that it seemed logical to walk towards the end point (being Pyramids square). However, walking toward the Arc de Triomphe and then taking the metro back for the Illuminations tour seems to be the most recommended. Sunset from the Arc de Triomphe would be wonderful to catch.

We don't have any particular place in mind for dinner. We figured if we saw an iteresting cafe we'd stop. We also didn't know if it were possable to reserve a table outside or if they were first come first serve. Any suggestions on this matter?

Good to know that the Concorde and Tuileries area isn't lively at night (we were curious about that).

As for how long we will be in Paris ... we arrive Tuesday and head to Avignon Saturday at noon.

Thanks for the great suggestions and things to ponder over.
jazzie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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There is also a bus that runs the length of the Champs if you get tired.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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as fishee notes, try and spend as little on the Champs Elysees as possible. Awful.
londonlad is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Yes, it's not the most romantic or interesting promenade for the flaneur/flaneuse. I'm a deeply committed shopper and even I was rather repulsed by this generic expanse of consumer space.
fishee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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At No. 74, Champs Elysees you will find a FNAC store opened every day until midnight. At its basement you will find their biletterie or ticket store where you can get tickets for Le Louvre in advance.
http://www.louvre.fr/llv/pratique/bi...sp?bmLocale=en
hhildebrandt is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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The Champs Elysees is still magnificent in terms of the vista and general layout (you can see that when you see some shots of the Tour de France and other scenes). Walking bd St Germain is hardly some scenic wonder and there are all kinds of cheap and trashy stores on it, also. I think people just like to rag on the Champs Elysees to be cool.

I do agree the vista is nice walking up to the Arc, but given your goal is to be at the place de la Concorde, I wouldn't necessarily do it in reverse. YOu can still turn around and see the views at various points when you want. I'd leave about 45-60 minutes for the walk, although it doesn't literally take that long.

I don't remember any particular street performers on it, however. If they were, they weren't very interesting.
Christina is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Although a walk down Champs Elysees can be fun, it's definitely not the essence of Paris. It's VERY commercialized (lots of burger joints) and overpriced. Enjoy it for what it is, just realize that there are much more interesting and scenic places in Paris. I wouldn't choose it as a dinner destination.
zootsi is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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I've done this walk many times and it can't be more than about two miles if that so time for athletic types is not a factor. The slowest part can be crossing the Place du Concord!
PalQ is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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"I think people just like to rag on the Champs Elysees to be cool."

It has nothing to do with being "cool". I just think a crowded street in which there is scant a local to be found, awash with large dept stores and burger joints is not my idea of a glorious paris scene.... Now head into the quiet back streets around the Luxembourg gardens and you've sparked my interest.

Jazzie suggested looking for a nice cafe. I would suggest looking for a cafe that is as far away from the Champs Elysees as possible.
londonlad is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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I love cheap and trashy stores, in fact, these are often my favorite if it's cheap trash that I cannot readily find in the U.S.

I think some of my disinterest with the Champs-Elyses is I just don't know much about the area. I liked walking around St. Germain Blvd and seeing Richard Wright's old apartment, the cafe that he, Baldwin, and other ex-pats wrote in, etc. These kinds of interest points would have helped me out a lot.
fishee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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couldn't agree more fishee. im heading over for easter and staying in a hotel on the rue de l'odeon. The street that Slyvia Beach's 'Shakespeare & Company' bookstore was located on....
londonlad is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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"Historically" (it's famous! the history! the movies! it's Paris!...) I'd want to walk down the street, but after doing it once, I can easily find much better places to walk (Rue St Germain, Ile St Louis, along the Seine,etc..) though I do like the 'bottom end' of the street, Place Concorde, L'Elysee, Crillon,etc...
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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I remember wondering what it must have felt like almost 50 years ago when Miles Davis wrote Nuit Sur Les Champs-Elysees while he was in Paris. I guess one could always plug into an MP3 player and take a stroll and do one's best to tune out the Virgin Records Megastore, Burger Kings, etc.

I almost stayed on Rue L'Odeon myself, have a great trip and try to post when you return!
fishee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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I agree with all the posts about the Champs not living up to the photo of it etched in our minds' eyes, BUT
let's not rain on their parade - the first time i was in Paris years ago, the first thing i did was set out to walk the Champs Elysees - even then it was no really romantic. But i say go for it - there are glitzy car dealerships, fancy watering holes and luxurious shops mixed in with the tacky shopping malls - and there is a GREAT view as you walk down the Champs, downhill towards the Louvre as you see it all laid out in the distance - go for it - you can explore more romantic quarters later. I can't think of a better initial walk than to strut from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre pyramid!
PalQ is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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The Champs Elysees is not the loveliest or the most Parisian of locales but, as it is your first time in Paris, you will want to see it. Don't eat there but instead find a restaurant off the main drag. An old favorite is L'Ardoise, an old fashioned bistro at 28, rue Mont Thabor, just off the Place de la Concorde, not far from the Concorde Metro stop Telephone is 01-42-96-28-18. As many have stated, walk from Place de la Concorde to the Arc and take the Metro back.
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