Hardly does a more famous avenue exist in Europe than the grandiloquent Champs-Élysées. The two-kilometer-long stretch has been the jugular vein of Paris as early as the 17th century, when Queen consort Marie de Medicis added a main tree-lined pathway to what was then mostly flat garden fields.
The project was later overtaken by architect Ignaz Hittorf in 1838 (two years after the erection of Napeleon’s Arc de Triomphe), who paved granite sidewalks and buttressed the avenue with its current gas lamps and fountains, hence laying down the groundwork for the development of the luxury boutiques and cafes that soon followed.
Crowned by the Arc de Triomphe to the west and Place the la Concorde to the east, “the world’s most beautiful avenue” continues to be inspiration to innumerable other avenues throughout the world, such as Budapest’s Andrássy út. In the winter months, the Christmas lights strewn across the trees lend the avenue a particularly beautiful glow.