Paris’ most famous avenue, the Champs-Elysees, needs a facelift.
That’s the verdict of building owners and retailers on the street. They are trying to convince the city of Paris that the avenue, which stretches from the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, is ripe for refurbishment 20 years after its last renovation.
“If nothing is done, the Champs-Elysees will become less attractive,” said Jean-Noel Reinhardt, president of the Champs-Elysees committee. “The last renovation was in 1993, when the sidewalks were broadened.”
Champs-Elysees businesses say the avenue faces increasing competition from other European capitals in its efforts to tap into a growing tourism market, especially with visitors from China and Russia. Their call for help comes at a time when President Francois Hollande’s government is seeking to increase France’s attractiveness to rekindle a stagnant economy.
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The city of Paris this week agreed to participate in a task force that will make proposals next year to reduce car traffic in the area, increase the number of cinemas and restaurants, celebrate more events or create gardens, he said.
Philippe Houze, chairman of the department store chain Galeries Lafayette, told Le Parisien on Tuesday, “We need to go even further if the Champs-Elysees is to keep its aura.” The chain last month said it had entered into talks to open a store on the avenue.
The 4.4-mile long avenue, created in the 17th century under the reign of King Louis XIV, has become the third-most-expensive retail location in the world, after New York’s Fifth Avenue and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, according to a report published last week by real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield Inc.