Avenue des Champs-Élysées … world’s most beautiful … but not liked …

A Paris-based communications agency – Agence Présence – has undertaken a survey of the world’s major avenues, and found that Avenue des Champs-Élysées with the reputation as the most beautiful avenue in the world, is not the one tourists like most. The agency sent ‘customers’ to the shops and restaurants of 30 avenues and the […]

On the Champs looking towards Place de la Concorde

A Paris-based communications agency – Agence Présence – has undertaken a survey of the world’s major avenues, and found that Avenue des Champs-Élysées with the reputation as the most beautiful avenue in the world, is not the one tourists like most.

The agency sent ‘customers’ to the shops and restaurants of 30 avenues and the Champs as the avenue is affectionately called by Parisians ranked 16th on the most-liked list.

The most liked was Singapore’s Orchard Road. London’s Bond Street came in on the 10th spot. A street I love – Geneva’s Rue du Rhone – came in as the 30th; in other words of the least liked of the 30. (I will give the list below.)

Early Fall (autumn) and no tourists

The Champs, which is 1.91 km (1.18 miles) long dates from the beginning of the 18th century. It runs from Place de la Concorde in the east to Place Charles de Gaulle (also still known by its previous name Place de l’Étoile) with its Arc de Triomphe built by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor his victories.

Once the avenue was lined with the showrooms of luxury automobiles, cinemas, restaurants, bistros and high-class souvenir shops, but as rents increased (they are sky-high these days) these began to disappear. Today, apart from one or two classy restaurants (Fouguette’s is one) the avenue is home to large fashion stores like C&A and Marks and Spencer which opened at the end of November (2011).

The ‘customers’ Agence Présence sent to see how they would be received on the Champs found the shop assistants, cashiers and waiters unfriendly and unhelpful. As has been reported in the Paris media, in 40% of cases, the shop assistant or waiter was irritable, was unsmiling and showed no interest in the shopper.

Here is the list: (The last figure is the score out of 100.)

• 1 Orchard Road – Singapore (89)
• 2 Avenue de la Liberté – Luxembourg (85)
• 3 PC Hoofstraat – Amsterdam (83)
• 4 Bagdat Avenue – Istanbul (83)
• 5 Oscar Freire – Sao Paulo (82)
• 6 George Street – Sydney (82)
• 7 Mariahilferstrasse – Vienne (80)
• 8 Avenue Louise – Brussels (78)
• 9 Ginza Line – Tokyo (78)
• 10 Bond Street – London (77)
• 11 Aleksanterinkatu – Helsinki (77)
• 12 Passage Victor Emmanuel – Milan (76)
• 13 Strøget – Copenhagen (75)
• 14 Wangfujing Avenue – Beijing (75)
• 15 Alvear – Buenos Aires (71)
• 16 Champs-Élysées – Paris (71)
• 17 Drottninggatan – Stockholm (71)
• 18 Apgujeong-dong – Seoul (71)
• 19 Karl Johan – Oslo (70)
• 20 Calle Serrano – Madrid (69)
• 21 Friedrischstrasse – Berlin (68)
• 22 Ulica Florianska – Cracow (67)
• 23 Nevsky Prospekt – Saint Petersburg (67)
• 24 Ermou Street – Athens (65)
• 25 Rue Sainte Catherine – Montreal (64)
• 26 5th Avenue – New York (64)
• 27 Avenida de la Libertad – Lisbon (61)
• 28 Rue du Rhône – Genève (59)
• 29 Des Voeux Road Central – Hong Kong (57)
• 30 Linking Road, Bandra – Mumbai (56)

For years now the French tourist ministry has, before each major vacation period (Easter, Christmas) asked Parisians to be friendly towards tourists. It looks as if their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Anyway, the Champs is beautiful – and you can always be unfriendly too …

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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