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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 24th, 2006, 10:49 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 27
You must go into the Mercedes shop on the left side as you walk down to the Champs - just amazing the cars that they have!
punto is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
I, too, am one that finds a promenade the length of the Champs not particularly pleasurable any more--devoid of life, hardcore commercialism. However, for a 1st time visit I would definitely include a portion of it-sort of a rite of passage/initiation thing for me.

I can still feel the sensation/emotion of coming up from the metro at Étoile and having the Arc in all its glory right THERE! and seeing the Champs aglitter with all the lights. And the view from on top is great. It still takes my breath away after all these years. The nightly re-lighting of the unknown soldier's grave can be moving. We always make a ritual stop at Étoile, walk up the Champs on the right a short ways to La Durée for a nice dinner and either walk back down and take the metro or cab it (taxi station nearby on corner of Champs d'Elysée) depending on how much wine imbibed. Le vin does tend to take one's legs out, especially when jetlagged.

I personally have felt a little uncomfortable on the walk from the Arc down to Concorde after dark as there are definitely less people, there are the tree lined allées that are less well lit. As an obvious tourist I feel more vulnerable here at night. Seriously consider a taxi afterwards as another way to see the city while saving your feet/energy for the remainder of your visit. Less hassle when so tired (though coming from Ireland maybe you'll be full of vim and vigour and enjoy a long walk), and a nice way to see the city for a change.
klondike is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
"BUT let's not rain on their parade..."

Totally agree with you, it's something you feel compelled to do given it's historically symbolic place in popular culture, etc. Didn't mean to bum anyone out but I think advance warning is a good thing to have so that one's expectations are properly calibrated. I think it's a great idea to visit the day you arrive when you're feeling excited, exhuasted, and slightly confused.
fishee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:46 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
There's nothing wrong with the Champs. It's one of many interesting places in Paris; it is neither typical nor atypical of Paris, because Paris is more than just a street. It's worth seeing, depending on how much time you're spending in the city.

It takes about 45-60 minutes to get to the place des Pyramides from the Arc, depending on how leisurely you walk.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22
Thanks for all the insight. As most of you have said, since this is our first trip to Paris a walk down the Champs is a must. We were thinking of redirecting and walking toward the Arc in order to catch the sunset. The only problem is we will be there after daylight savings has begun so the sunsets around 9:00. I believe the Arc closes at 6:00. So, now we're back to waking toward the Louvre.

I've read about Laduree and Fouquets but not L'Ardoise. I'll have to look that one up online. Thanks for the tip.

jazzie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
I was going to suggest Laduree also, especially for their famous macaroons... Maison du Chocolat is nearby in the 8th/16th too. And at the other end of your stroll, Angelina's on the rue de Rivoli has decadent hot chocolate!
I usually end up staying near the Champs when I'm in Paris, and it's true that it's rather a soulless place. But it's not all tourists and as a first trip to Paris you won't be sorry for taking the time. In fact, I think it's probably a perfect thing to do on your first, jet-lagged day: there's not SO much to look at that you'll be overwhelmed; it's basically a safe, clean place to be (watch out for pickpockets, but that's true in any area where there's tourists or if you look like one! lol); and you'll be able to drink in that certain French-ness that is everywhere even in McDonald's(!). Cafes are priced for tourists but certainly palatable if you're suddenly hungry. Personally I think it's a lot like Fifth Avenue in NYC.
If you end up at the lower end of the Champs later in the day, try heading over to the Seine and walking along there instead of the Tuilieries. You'll see all the bateaux mouches giving their tours and glimpse the left bank; it's easy enough to cut back in to the Pyramid when you reach the Louvre. You can turn at the Grand Palais and catch its Beaux Arts architecture up close, then you'll see the Musee D'Orsay across the river as you walk. The sunset over any building in Paris looks great!
I would repeat what a previous poster said about the Champs after dark: it feels a bit creepy/seedy later at night. Pretty much all of the 8th gets really deserted after hours, so you may want to get a taxi to take you to your door, at least until you get a "lay of the land".
One other suggestion... I spent a year in college in Paris; my French boyfriend occasionally used to take me to the Renault car dealership on the Champs... for ice cream! The dealership (on the right side as you go downhill) is open until very late. People mill around in the front, dealership area looking at cars; in the back there's an upscale eatery with large, fancy ice creams. I don't recommend the ice cream compared to Bertillon (which you must try for its intense flavors), but if the cafe is still there, you should take a peak because it's so bizarre!
Ah, Paris - have a great trip!
ggreen is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,261
How lovely to be in Paris this spring. My first trip with my husband was 10 years ago and we stayed in the 8th on the rue Washington. Enjoyed it very much although we later fell in love with the 7th and have stayed there several times. It feels much more like real Parisian life.
Be prepared to pay outrageous prices to dine with a view of the Arc. Our little secret on the Champs Elysees is Brioche Dore, fast food but French fast food. We can sit outside with a quiche or pastry and look at the Arc for far less money. But for your first night in Paris why not splurge.

I like your idea of of walking from the Arc to the Place du Pyramids on your first evening, especially if the weather is fine. You'll get a lovely view of the golden dome of Invalides, the tacky yet charming Pont Alexandre III, and the fountains at the Place de la Concorde.
If you get to the Place with time to spare before your tour stop in the little cafe/bar opposite the Hotel Regina. They have great cherry sorbet.
Have a wonderful time. S.
Scootoir is offline  

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