Paris' Champs-Elysees: A wide boulevard with a long history

AP

Print Article

  • French riot police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, with the Arc of Triomphe in background, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 1

    French police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, with the Arc de Triomphe in background, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 2

    French police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 3

    A riot police officer patrols outside the Lido cabaret on the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 4

    A soldier stands guard near the Arc of Thriomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker, Thursday, April 20, 2017. French media are reporting that two police officers were shot Thursday on the famed shopping boulevard. Many police vehicles can be seen on the avenue that passes many of the city's most iconic landmarks. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

  • French riot police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, with the Arc of Triomphe in background, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 1

    French police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, with the Arc de Triomphe in background, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 2

    French police officers patrol on the Champs Elysees boulevard, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 3

    A riot police officer patrols outside the Lido cabaret on the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017. France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • 4

    A soldier stands guard near the Arc of Thriomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker, Thursday, April 20, 2017. French media are reporting that two police officers were shot Thursday on the famed shopping boulevard. Many police vehicles can be seen on the avenue that passes many of the city's most iconic landmarks. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

PARIS (AP) The shooting of police officers on Paris' majestic Champs-Elysees rattled France just days before the end of a suspenseful election season, but it barely registers in the history of a boulevard that has long served as a backdrop for historical dramas and is now a major draw for visitors from all over the world.

The broad, arrow-straight, tree-lined avenue its name translates to "Elysian Fields," the mythical resting place of Greek heroes was first planned at the order of France's Louis XIV.

Napoleon ordered the construction of a massive Roman arch the Arc de Triomphe at one end as his armies conquered Europe. When the allied forces of Europe conquered back, the Russian tsar and the Prussian kaiser watched from a stand adjacent as their victorious forces filed past.

German soldiers marched down the Champs after their blitzkrieg in 1940. Americans did the same after the city's liberation in 1944.

Today, the avenue is the finish line for the Tour de France cycling championship, the annual Bastille Day military parades and a variety of special events, including a recent drone race. But its primary users are the estimated 100 million annual visitors, many of them foreigners, who flock to the avenue every year. American, European, Arab, Chinese and Russian tourists crowd the sweeping sidewalks shopping for luxury goods, pricey espressos or just simply to gawk at the stately stone buildings and brightly colored sports cars.

"It's the most beautiful avenue in France," said Aurelie Schianchi, a visitor from northern France who was taking her children on a tour of the capital. "The world," her husband Johann corrected her.

There did not appear to be any noticeable fall in foot traffic after the shooting, which killed one policeman and injured two other officers and a German tourist. Police shot the attacker and officials said it appeared he was acting alone when he opened fire on a police van.

Even as police responded to the attack Thursday night, the cafe terraces just off the avenue were crowded with finely dressed smokers. On Friday, camera-clutching Japanese visitors browsed pricey postcards at the Champ's green Hausmann-style news kiosk, ignoring English-language headlines that said "Terror at the Champs-Elysees." Bored-looking store clerks took cigarette breaks outside perfume and clothing retailers as recent arrivals dragged their luggage to their hotels in the spring sunshine.

At the base of some of the avenue's plane trees, people left flowers as a crowd of journalists examined bullet holes punched into a glass wall opposite.

Kabir Ratnam, a recently graduated marketing student from Malaysia, described the mood as relaxed and "very calm."

"Things like this happen all the time," he said. Then he rephrased himself.

"It's unfortunate that it happens all the time."

   

Print Article

Read More Lifestyles

Authorities say body found on Friday is likely of hiker from Tennessee who went missing with his step-grandmother

AP

April 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm | GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) Authorities say body found on Friday is likely of hiker from Tennessee who went missing with his step-grandmother. ...

Comments

Read More

Robotic fruit pickers may help orchards with worker shortage

AP

April 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm | SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Harvesting Washington state's vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States. That system eventually c...

Comments

Read More

US facing shortage of yellow fever vaccine for travelers

AP

April 28, 2017 at 11:14 am | NEW YORK (AP) Americans who need a yellow fever shot for travel may soon have a harder time getting it. A manufacturing problem has created a shortage of the only version of the vaccine license...

Comments

Read More

This summer, try a pair of chilled salads you can make ahead

AP

April 28, 2017 at 7:32 am | In summer, a party can erupt any time of the day. Whether you're serving a casual outdoor picnic or an elegant seated affair, we'll help you throw together a stress-free menu in no time. A chille...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X