Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Grandest Avenue by Margot Justes

A visit to Paris must include a stroll on the grandest avenue of them all, the Champs Elysees. Trees border the wide avenue. My imagination always takes root, and I see a fanciful lush border that outlines the street, a gigantic sweep of branches that almost caress the ground, as the cars speed in manic hurry. Exhilarating.

The site is a delight to the senses. Wide, open, elegant and vital. Brimming with life.

You have arrived at the shoppers Mecca in Paris. No, it is not the haute couture center, although fine boutiques abound, it is simply an exciting mixture of stores, cafes, cinemas and tourists. Many tourists, no matter time of year.

The avenue’s beginning is simple, an Elysian field-hence the name- became a strolling pathway in 1616, under Marie De Medici’s guidance.

Today it stretches from the Place de la Concorde, the renowned obelisk marks the starting point all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de l’Etoile (place of stars), over a mile long, it is easily the most recognized avenue in the world.

Once you reach the Arc de Triomphe and go upstairs, Paris will be at your feet, look down, you’ll see why it is called the place of stars. It has since been renamed Place Charles du Gaulle, but for me it will always be the place of stars.

I have often heard it said that if you sit in a café on the Champs Elysees long enough, you will eventually meet someone you know. I never had, but am willing to test the hypothesis.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
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~Sia McKye~ said...

It's funny, you don't think of Champs Elysees as being designed as a walkway of dead heroes to the The Elysian Fields, the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous. Or, I should say, I forget that part of it. I think you merely marvel at the architectural beauty. Yet, when you think about it, historically some of the most beautiful architecture is around places of worship and memorials.

I love how you describe it though as a place brimming with life, something beautiful to the eyes and the senses. I can see where the imagination can take flight and create all sorts of stories.

Thanks for the walk. :-)

Morgan Mandel said...

Shoppers Mecca - sounds like heaven. Too bad I don't have as much money lately for shopping. That's what happens when the DH goes semi-retired and insurance eats up the cash.

Morgan Mandel

Margot Justes said...

You're right, the history is so rich and significant and I really apreciate your comment.
Thank you,