Linking the Place de la Concorde with the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées is known as the world’s “most beautiful avenue”. From cabaret shows at Le Lido to designer shops like Guerlain, uncover the best things to do on this famous Paris street.
The chestnut tree-lined Champs-Élysées is one of the world’s most iconic avenues. Named after the resting place of heroes, it is the annual scene of Bastille Day parades and Tour de France finishes. But as the high-end clutch of malls, boutique stores and theatres demonstrate, France’s legends aren’t limited to military and sport. Get your fix of Parisian culture from our list below.
If you’ve never considered stamps to be an object of fascination, then the market on the corner of Avenue Gabriel and Avenue Marigny will make you think again. Open every Thursday, weekends and bank holidays, mingle among the pro collectors to find a beguiling array of stamps, postcards and envelopes. Like mini time-capsules, each possessing their own mysteries and backstories, they make for a quirky and inexpensive souvenir.
Tucked away in the quiet Jean Perrin square behind the Grand Palais is this pleasant fountain known as the Miroir d’Eau. It can be literally translated as the “mirror of water”. The Art Nouveau sculpture was one of artist François-Raoul Larche’s final works when created in 1910. It is said to represent the Seine, with the nine marble figures symbolising the nine tributaries of France’s northern river.
Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris, is located at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755, the Place de la Concorde gained a ghastly reputation as an execution site during the French Revolution. The French king, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and Robespierre, along with many others, fell victim to the country’s favoured method of execution in this square: the guillotine. Today, it’s dotted with two monumental fountains along with the Luxor Obelisk and the Big Wheel, a great way to catch the city sights from above.
The Luxor Obelisk is a 3,000-year-old Egyptian monument at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées, and no one is quite sure how it was made. Reaching 23m (75ft) into the Parisian skyline, this gold-topped granite column is adorned with hieroglyphs exalting the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II. It’s an unusual landmark to find in Paris, as obelisks are usually built to herald the entrance to a temple. However, it was sent to Paris by Muhammad Ali Pasha, Ruler of Ottoman Egypt, as a gesture of good political relations. It first arrived in Paris on 21 December 1833 and has been classified as a historical monument since 1936.
Alexis James contributed additional reporting to this article.
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