The magical Avenue des Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris. Kongo grew up watching movies of romantic interludes on this fabled street, recalls the news reels of victorious armies marching beneath the Arc de Triomphe and during a recent first visit to Paris the little monkey got to see it all first hand. It's a great walk.
The Arc de Triomphe on a cloudy evening.
Thousands crowd the sidewalks along the famous avenue. You have to give the French credit for their sidewalks. They are wide and spacious with plenty of room to stroll, to people watch, to set up a little cafe or an outside table, and the trees are always perfectly manicured.
The Arc de Triomphe anchors the west end of the avenue at Place Charles de Gaulle. From this giant circle twelve avenues radiate out across Paris. Napoleon started construction of the Arc de Triomphe in 1806 but ended up being exiled before its completion and never saw the monument intended to gloriously honor his many victories on the battlefield. The walls inside the Arc now depict dozens of battles and long gone generals who have fought wars for France. Many of the battles were fought over and over again by different generations but they kept the same name, like Verdun and Ardennes.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc honors the fallen in the many wars of France. It also inspired Jackie Kennedy to set up a similar eternal flame over her husband’s grave at Arlington Cemetery.
A sidewalk cafe on the avenue.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées runs just over a mile from the Place de la Concorde (where Marie “Let them eat cake” Antoinette lost her head) to the Arc de Triomphe. The name means Elysian Fields, the place of the happy dead in Greek mythology. Kongo noted that far from being dead, this street is very much alive!
A stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a must for first time visitors. When you visit Paris you don’t want to miss it.
Travel safe. Have fun.