Champs Elysées (Elysian fields) were originally nothing
but fields, until Marie de Medicis decided in 1616 to put
up a long tree-lined pathway. In 1667, Le Notre extended
the vista of the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees became
a very fashionable place to walk. In 1724, the avenue was
extended up to Chaillot hill, now the site of the Arc de Triomphe
and the Etoile.
The actual avenue of the Champs-Elysées did not become city property until 1828, when they added footpaths and fountains. They also added gas lighting at this time.
Today, the Champs Elysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, with its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops. This special status made it the site of much growth and activity. At the very heart of Paris, it is one of the most symbolic places in the city, representative of its spirit and glory.