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Travel / Tours / Paris / Champs Elysees
Visit the Champs Elysées in Paris
  Champs Elysées
  Arc de Triomphe
  Place de l'Alma
  Avenue Montaigne / Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore
  Avenue Winston Churchill
  Further information


The Avenue des Champs Elysées is the most famous street in Paris. This broad road starts at the Arc de Triomphe and continues straight to the Place de la Concorde. This section introduces some of the places along or close to this road.


The Champs Elysées is lined with fashionable shops and restaurants and is a popular place for tourists. A love song called "Les Champs Elysées" by Joe Dassin became popular in many countries in 1969.

The Champs Elysees is a wide street ...

... running between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde

Marionnaud: a perfume/cosmetics shop

Louis Vuitton shop (while under refurbishment)

Lido: famous for its revue shows

A dancer in the Lido show

Formula 1 car in the Renault showroom

La Duree tearoom

Les Plus belles chansons d'amour de Joe Dassin (CD)
[the most beautiful love songs of Joe Dassin, including "Les Champs-Elysees"]
[click here to buy from Amazon France]
Artist: Joe Dassin; Label: Sony; Date: June 2003

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Twelve major roads radiate in every direction from a large arch called the Arc de Triomphe (the "arch of victory"). To visit this monument you need to walk through an underpass. It is free if you just want to walk around the monument, but you need to queue and to pay if you choose to visit the museum and to climb to the top.

Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the construction of the Arc de Triomphe after his most important victory, at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. He promised his soldiers that would march through great arches when they returned home. Although construction was begun soon after that, in fact the Arc de Triomphe was not completed until 1836. The names and images carved on the monument relate mainly to Napoleon's generals and the battles which he won. However, the image which you can see on the bottom right as you look at the arch from the Champs Elyseés is from the period just before Napoleon came to power: it shows volunteers leaving to defend France in 1792, shortly after the French Revolution.

The Arc de Triomphe:
the "arch of victory"

Frieze on the right side:
volunteers leave to defend France

After World War One it was decided to bury here the body of an unidentified French soldier who had died in the trenches. This is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and represents all of the people who died fighting on the side of the French. The inscription reads "ici repose un soldat francais mort pour la patrie 1914-1918" ("here lies a French soldier who died for his country 1914-1918"). There is also an Eternal Flame: every evening it is looked after to make sure that it continues to burn.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
and the "eternal flame"

The ceiling of the arch
is intricately designed

The pavement under the Arc de Triomphe contains memorials of other wars fought by France during this century. Included among these is an inscription containing the words of General Charles de Gaulle, who escaped to London once the Nazis had taken over France. On 18th June 1940 he made a famous broadcast to the French people by radio and by dropping leaflets from aeroplanes, asking them to resist the German occupation.

The signature of Charles de Gaulle, beneath his
appeal to the French people to resist the occupation.

Hitler led his troops in a victory parade along the Champs Elysées after he had taken over Paris. Four years later, Charles de Gaulle led the victory parade of the Allies when the city was liberated. Another more recent victory which celebrated here was when France won football's World Cup in 1998.

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At the end of Avenue Montaigne is the Place de l'Alma. There is an underpass here: this is where Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed died in a car crash on 31 August 1997. Many people write messages on the concrete above, expressing their sadness about the deaths. Next to this is a replica of the torch flame from the Statue of Liberty in New York. This was presented to the city of Paris by the International Herald Tribune. Although it is not dedicated to Diana, many people consider it to be an unofficial tribute to her life.

Diana and Dodi died while being driven in this underpass
(the graffiti reads "RIP [rest in peace] Diana")

Flamme de la Liberte: now an
unofficial shrine for Diana

Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words
Author: Andrew Morton
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
Date: August 2003
A Royal Duty
Author: Paul Burrell
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Date: October 2003

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Just off the Champs Elysées are some of the most fashionable streets. If you walk along Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore you will see many famous French brand names, such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Lancome, Guy Laroche, Givenchy, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent and Hermes.

Avenue Montaigne is famous for its boutiques

Chanel: fashion ...

... and jewellery


Louis Vuitton

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Another of the roads off the Champs Elysées is the Avenue Winston Churchill. This is named after Sir Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during the Second World War. At one end of the road there is a statue of Churchill, while at the other end there is one of the French general and leader De Gaulle.

On either side of the road are the Grand Palais ("big palace") and Petit Palais ("little palace"). These buildings, as well as the nearby bridge Pont Alexandre III, were built for the World Fair in Paris in 1900. They are used for art and other exhibitions.

Winston Churchill's statue (on
Avenue Winston Churchill,
outside the Petit Palais)

De Gaulle's statue (outside
the entrance to the Champs
Elysées Clemenceau metro)

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Place de la Concorde used to contain a statue of the French king Louis the Fifteenth, but this was destroyed at the time of the French Revolution. A guillotine was put in its place: among the people who were beheaded here were the king Louis the Sixteenth, his wife Marie Antoinette, and the revolutionary Robespierre.

The main monument that is now in this square is the Obélisque. This is one of two obelisks which originally stood in the temple of Luxor next to two huge seated statues of the pharaoh Ramses the Second (the ruler of Egypt from 1279 to 1212 BC). Carved on the obelisk are hieroglyphics which describe the achievements of the pharaoh. It has been in Place de la Concorde since 1836, having been presented to France by Egypt.

There is also a decorative fountain in Place de la Concorde, inspired by the fountains in Piazza San Pietro in Rome.

Obelisk of Luxor

The fountain in Place de la Concorde

Top of the obelisk

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Book a trip to Paris:
Anderson Tours: Travel/Tours/Company/AndersonTours
International Friends: Travel/Tours/Company/InternationalFriends

Useful websites:
Arc de Triomphe:
Location of the Arc de Triomphe: map

Independent travel to Paris:
To book a Eurostar train ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/Eurostar
To book a Eurolines coach ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/NationalExpress
To book a flight to Paris: Travel/Transport/Air

Hostels/hotels in Paris:
Click here for: Accommodation in Paris

Weather forecast for Paris:

More photos
360 degree panoramic picture of the Arc de Triomphe:

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Visit Paris: Travel/Tours/Paris
Visit other parts of France: Travel/Tours/France

Home page: Home

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