Call me scrooge, call me a downer, but the Avenue des Champs-Elys?es is THE MOST overrated avenue in Paris. The 8th doesn't do it for me; if I wanted wall to wall people gawking from store to store holding their McDonald's extra-large sodas and their microscopic bag from Chanel (because that's all they can afford, but just HAD TO go there) waddling up the avenue and trying to get the perfect photo of Aunt Cecilia and Uncle Ralph next to Planet Hollywood and waiting online for a table at Fouqet's because they just HAVE to sit in an authentic Parisian cafe...then I could have stayed home in NY and hung out on 5th Avenue (the most overrated avenue in NY).
Unique Suggestions: The Avenue des Champs-Elys?es is worth a visit- one visit- short, sweet, see the Arc de Triomphe, and then move on to another, more interesting area.
My alternatives would be:
-for haute couture and fashion: go to Rue du Faubourg St-Honor?. THAT'S where you get a glimpse of Catherine Deneuve!
-for nightlife: anywhere else! The left bank, Marais in the 3rd and 4th, rue Oberkampf. If you must see one of those Vegas-y shows, try Paradis Latin instead of Crazy Horse.
For Christmas lights, Bastille Day, parades and other major exhibitions, the Champs-Elys?es is the best. For the other 358 days of the year, I say don't bother. You'll get more a feel of Paris on any other street or avenue.
People pushing flowers into your hands
People selling dancing mickey and minney mice
People selling things that "climb" down windows!?!
People who want to talk to you
You know what I mean, this place is a nightmare.
Unique Suggestions: Go up the top of the Arc de Triumph. There is no lift and lots of stairs but there is a little exhibition with loads of old interesting pictures and there are good views of Paris from the top
Do me a favor and read the whole thing before you start throwing stuff.
I still go there for multiple strolls everytime I visit Paris, but let's be honest - (imho) parts of the Champs-Elysees are becoming a beautiful, seductive, and overpriced tourist trap. (Charles de Gaulle would roll over in his grave.)
An espresso or drink at Fouquet's terrace for only 10 - 15 Euros
And let's not forget the below-average dinners & touristy glitz shows at the Lido for a mere $220 - $400 a pop (2008 prices) ... the dollar sucks
Unique Suggestions: Hey, it's the Champs-Elysees.
She may be a little jaded, but despite the commercialism the Champs-Elysees is still one of the most warm, sexy, attractive, sassyest-classiest strolls in the world, especially down below Rond-Point.
Fun Alternatives: I still make sure to wander down the Champs-Elysees every time I visit Paris anyway.
There IS no alternative to the Champs-Elysees ... I'll always love it.
Also: Some truly great restaurants (Guy Savoy, Les Ulysees Du Vernet, Ledoyen, etc.) and clubs hide just off the Champs Elysees. One block or two off the street and you're in Paris restaurant heaven.
Alsace on the Champs has excellent choucroute. Fouquet's has some of the best cafe/people-watching in the world (but the food @ Fouquet's is definitely a tourist trap....)
She's kind of like that aunt you see only during holidays: sometimes a little too much, ... but you still love her to death anyway.
"in France they kiss on main street..."
So I'm strolling down the Champs Elysee when all of the sudden I see a long queue of people waiting in line to get inside the Louis Vuitton shop. Is there a famous celebrity inside? Are they giving away free key rings? A grand opening with complimentary champagne? No, these folks are simply awaiting their turn to enter and purchase something. Can you believe that? A Malaysian couple at the end of the line tell me that it's a security measure to limit the number of shoppers that can go inside. I believe it's just a tourist trap to make people think that there is a legitimate reason to stand in line. I mean it's not a jewelry store, right? I also walked past Cartier and there was no line to get in there.
Unique Suggestions: I have heard that some Chinese shoppers actually pay people to stand in line and purchase purses here. (The China embassy is less than 3 blocks away from Louis Vuitton.) So there is not only a limit to the number of shoppers allowed inside, but also a restriction on quantity of purchases? This is mind boggling to me and I show the Malaysian couple my fake Louis Vuitton wallet that I bought in Guangzhou for 10 yuan, which is about 1 Euro. Our chat ended there, but I didn't want anybody thinking that I was the end of the line anyway.
Fun Alternatives: Why stand in line on the Champs Elysee to spend 100 Euros for a wallet that costs 10 yuan on Guangzhou's Chang Shou Street? There's no queue in Shenzhen to buy fake Louis Vuitton handbags and you can purchase as many as you like there!
We all know the words of the famous song of Joe Dassin "Aux Champs-Elysees, e midi ou e minuit , au soleil ou sous la pluie on trouve tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Elysees"... yes may be Everything is possible on the Champs-Elys?es but still what I saw was just an ordinary street...
Unique Suggestions: Too many tourists, too many pick-pockets, the cafes and shops are unreasonably and horribly expensive... Of course you would have to see the place... still... keep in mind my advise: keep your purse safe, don't go shopping there, if you would like to have a cup of coffee or anything be ready to pay double price or even triple if you would like to sit outside on the street.... But anyway who would like to have something to drink outside in the smog?
Fun Alternatives: Here is a picture of Champs-Elysees as I saw it.... a big grey street... may be it was the weather, who knows?
Avoid buying overpriced souvenir items from the shops in around this street.
Unique Suggestions: Just browse, but don't buy chintz. Champs Elysées has many other offers like ... just taking pictures of the plaque with the name of the avenue on it, looking at the numerous people milling up and down, as you sip on your chocolat chaud or eat a baguette.
Fun Alternatives: If you want souvenirs, the typical stuff such as plastic eiffel towers and , t-shirts, mugs and scarves with Paris plastered all over them, you are better off going to Blanche (line 2, can take the metro directly from the north end of the Champs Elysées metro station Charles de Gaulle Etoile, won't take your more than 16 mins) the less glamourous part of Paris which will have all of these items at a fraction of the price on the Champs Elysees. Sometimes you can even bargain with the shop owners, on the streets surrounding the Sacré Coeur.
Dinning and Shopping on the Champs-Elysees and other tourist areas is expensive. Take a walk just a block or two and you will find wonderful crepares and bakeries. They have some of the best breads you have ever tired. It is difficult to get a salad, at least in September I found it nearly impossible. Try having some cheese, sliced tomatoes with fresh basil top with a wonderful balsimic vinegar. Oh, the cheeses all over Europe were mouth watering.....the best ever and I was not a cheese lover, at all. TIP: Keep change handy as I found all of the bathrooms required coin. Picture is of the undergound bathroom in the fashion district.
Fun Alternatives: Watch were the locals go or ask them. They love to tell you about their home.
We were taking pictures of Triumphal arch when suddenly a woman bend down and picked up something from the street. It was a ring like those wedding rings. She asked us if it was ours, but we said it was not. So she said we could stay with it and I said no, she could keep the ring herself. She insisted, so we kept the ring. Then she asked for money to buy something to eat. I took a look in my wallet (NEVER DO THIS) and didn't have any small bills, so I told my wife to give her some coins. She gave all the small coins she had. Not much. I saw the woman didn't like it at all, but we really didn't care, said goodbye and went on our way.
I've seen this scam happening with other people at least twice: in Champs Elysées and La Concorde square. They usually try to do this it with couples.
The ring was like this: http://www.gourmantic.com/2010/03/30/a-paris-scam-the-lost-gold-ring/
Unique Suggestions: Say it's not yours and go your way.
Fun Alternatives: If the person doesn't leave you, call the police.
At both ends of the Champs-Elysées, my girlfriend and I were asked a number of times by people, looking kind of lost, if we spoke English. If we said yes, they immediately opened up a little pamphlet, asking for money.
Unique Suggestions: If someone at the end of the Champs-Elysées (either at the Jardin de Tulieres or the Arc de Triomphe) asks if you speak English, just shake your head no. They don't need help, they just want money.
There are some asians (from mainland China, I believe) who walk up to you along Champs Elysees asking for help... their story? that they have exceeded the daily limit for purchase at Louis Vuitton, and really need to get some more urgently before they leave Paris the next day. This guy pleaded with me, shoved 750 euros in my hand n told me to get him 2 wallets of any design, as long as they are priced at max 375 euros each and bear the LV monogram. I didn't even have time to question more about the "limit" when he persistantly walked me to the store vicinity... fella acted fishy.... inside LV, I was approached by the store manager, who warned me about this scam, how these syndicate members are preying on kind-hearted tourists who fall for their sob stories n help them to make purchases. She thinks the purchased goods are prob used to help make counterfeits and sold on ebay. Store manager says LV does not impose a limit on purchases, but they recognise these syndicates, n bar them from entry into the store... so i walked out n passed the euros back to the guy! Do not be part of the counterfeit trade!
Unique Suggestions: just hop on the open-top double deck red bus (Les Cars Rouge) for 22 euros/2days (9 sightseeing destinations).... the bus ride through Champs Elysees should suffice for an experience - hey, at least you could say you've been there! ;-p
Fun Alternatives: I preferred the quaint little specialty shops scattered throughout Paris.... like in Montmartre, where there are lovely boulangeries which stock pretty baskets of cookies, macaroons etc.. Epiceries with jars of conserves, dressings...... Chocolates, candies, as well as many local boutiques....
Champs Elysees' are lined with international brands, not unique to Paris but found in most cities, nothing special actually!
In 1860, the merchants along the avenue joined together to form the Syndicat d'Initiative et de Défense des Champs-Élysées, changed to an association in 1916 headed by Louis Vuitton to promote the avenue.
In 1980, the group changed its name to the Comité des Champs-Élysées. It is the oldest standing committee in Paris.
The committee has always dedicated itself to seek public projects to enhance the avenue's "luxe" atmosphere, and to lobby the authorities for extended business hours because they are selling to the tourist. Even today, the committee has approval over the addition of anynew business to the avenue!
Because of the high rents, few people live on the Champs-Élysées; the upper storeys tend to be occupied by offices.
Rents are particularly high on the north side of the avenue, because of better exposure to sunlight.
The splendid architecture of the grandiose "Champs-Élysées" is admired by many people.
Unique Suggestions: The Champs-Élysées were originally fields and market gardens. In 1616, Marie de Medici, decided to extend the garden of the Palais des Tuileries with an avenue of trees. It is these trees that gave birth to the construction of the Champs Elysee.
Fun Alternatives: By the late 1700s, the Champs-Élysées had become a fashionable avenue; the bosquet plantings on either side had thickened enough to be given formal rectangular glades (cabinets de verdure).
The gardens of houses built along the Faubourg St-Honoré backed onto the formal bosquets.
The grandest of them was the Élysée Palace. A semi-circle of housefronts now defined the north side of the Rond Point.
Queen Marie Antoinette drove with her friends and took music lessons at the grand Hôtel de Crillon on the Place Louis XV.
The avenue from the Rond Point to the Etoile was built up during the Empire.
The Champs-Élysées itself became city property in 1828, and footpaths, fountains, and gas lighting were added. Over the years, the avenue has undergone numerous transitions, most recently in 1993, when the sidewalks were widened.
Champs-Élysées has impressed people far and wide. Kings of Thailand had the main street of Bangkok constructed to resemble Champs-Élysées.
The avenue runs for 2 kilometers (1.25 mi) through the 8th arrondissement in northwestern Paris. Enjoy the walk, but spend
your money elsewhere.
Well, if you exchange your cash along this street, you will pay a heafty commission. If you can, exchange as much as possible at the airport or Disneyland for the better rates with much less commission charge
We were walking on Champs de Elysses and one Chinese looking woman approached us, requesting to buy her a wallet for €290 from some branded store. Cost of it was was two ninety so I thought €2.90 (by looking at wallet) so I asked price again and and she goes two thousand ninety and I almost shouted in my mind "Whhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaattttttt?"
I started wondering why this female wants me to buy this so asked again and I was informed only 2 are allowed per customer. Now she shows the receipt of the wallet she just bought but just a glimpse, didn't let me see what it was of.
Before even we say yes or no to her request, she almost pushed €600 into my hand and wanted to push another €600 into my wife's hand but my wife suggested me to get first and then her.
I was quite shocked and asked if you can't buy cheaper in China for which she refused as I started calculating back in my mind, cost of €290 in Chinese currency for a such small (palm size) wallet, if it was really worth.
Now, we approach to the store wondering about the scene, we turn back and don't see trace of woman on street as she should follow us if she is giving €600 to some unknown person and we got suspicious.
We spent 5 mins in store and came outside, she was on corner, just gave her money back with some lame excuse and got ourselves out of business.
I think she tried to con us but something went wrong as per her plan and we were saved. BE CAREFUL
Unique Suggestions: If You want to go this above trourist trap, just give ALL belongings with you to your partner and get that person out of the place. If at all something is going to go bad, you should alone face it and there should be nothing to rip you off.
This is equally scary though as you are letting your (probably) only eye-witness go.
Better evaluate situation. I was prepared to run away with €600, should some *** happens
the Champs-Elysées - I was quite disappointed on my first trip, but I made up my mind on my 2nd trip I'll take a closer look and may be I missed the magic somehow. Still I think it's just a well loved tourist trap.
I was walkig alone on the Champseleyese and men handed me cards to go to 'special' clubs. The places were bars were prostitutes catered. This is legal in France. They were a ripoff. I asked for the prices and determined from this,
But, did happen to find one bar by the name of 'Freddy Place An American Bar'
There is jazz downstairs a bar and tables on the mainfloor
single ladies looking for company.