FASHION MEETS GREEN AT THE PLACE CHARLES DE GAULLE, PARIS
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With one of the most visited monuments of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe standing in its center, the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly known as Place de L’Étoile is also the meeting point of three arrondissements and twelve avenues, including the “fashionable” Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Each day, countless numbers of tourists gather around this rather vacant Place, some even risking their lives by running into the middle of the avenue to take photos with the Arc de Triomphe. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, literally translated, means the Avenue of the Elysian Fields. It refers to the paradise of Greek mythology, where the righteous rested their souls1. The avenue became the most fashionable and modern street in Paris in the 1920s2. However, the elegance of the street has been compromised lately by the incursion of an increasing number of generic outlet stores and even fast-food chains. This project aims to improve the pedestrian experience and revitalize the fashion sense of the Avenue de Champs-Élysée by introducing a design that integrates landscape planning with architectural design. Including exhibition spaces for select French fashion houses as well as green spaces to provide places of gathering for both tourists as well as local Parisians, this design absorbs and extends the long history and multiple roles of the Champs-Élysées and the Place Charles de Gaulle—as park, as memorial, and as commercial district. 1 “Avenue des Champs-Elysees: Paris’ Main Street,” Why Go, accessed March 30, 2013, http://www.parislogue.com/travel-tips/avenue-des-champs-elysees-paris-main-street.html. 2 Norma Evenson, Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979), 40.