Doesn’t matter what you have read or heard about Champs-Élysées , you have to stand on that stretch of bikilometre between Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe to appreciate how grand and elegant it is. At night, it transforms into a beauty as much a beauty any city can afford. The flowing traffic, the impeccable lighting with its sea of revelling humanity, adds an air of sophisticated charm that is not paralleled anywhere else.
Dearer, yes. But worth every cent of it. Comparison is a crime but just to weigh in the scales- even Dublin, with its fabled Temple Bar locale seems puny. All credit should of course go to the French, for their enviable sense of beauty and for taking elaborate pains in not turning it into a Piccadilly circus or Times square. Though it is the heart of fashion empire there is not a single halogen light flashing a product. When I enquired about it I was glad to find out that it is illegal to put on any flashy advert on the avenue. By-lanes yes, but not the main street. In fact it is a rule that all the names of the shops on the historical avenue should be in white. Here’s a story-
When McDonald’s with their business eye opened an outlet on the Champs-Élysées, they put on their gaudy yellow big m logo. The French being French explained the rules governing the street advertisement and received a typical American taste for a reply stating it was their logo and therefore they had the right to put it up in front of their franchise. Etcetera.
To this, The French served them their best wine and how only the French can do asked them sweetly to fuck off elsewhere. Of course not in as many words. Well now, If you happen take a look at the McDonalds on Champs-Élysées you would find it in a decent white without any sunrise yellow logo.
But hey its not all bullying , the outlet puts forth the most profit for any McDonalds outlet outside United States. So both are la happy .
Had it been any other part of the world where a sense of aesthetics is buyable, the grand avenue would be a neon nightmare by now but not here. Champs-Élysées is acclaimed as the most beautiful street in the world- La plus belle avenue du monde and it shows how much it takes to hold on to it.
1. At 2 am on a saturday morning
2. On a lazy very very hung over Paris sunday.