The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, often called the most beautiful avenue in the world, is one of Paris’ main tourist attractions. Though it is still a popular site, Parisians and tourists alike agree that time has not been kind to the avenue. Luckily, Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s €250 million—or roughly $305 million—renovation scheme may help restore its beauty and reputation. Architecture and urban planning agency PCA-stream conceived of an “extraordinary garden” plan that includes half the number of cars and claims far more area of green spaces and pedestrian travel.
“The overall vision for the district located between the Champs-Élysées roundabout and the Arc de Triomphe builds up the quality of use over a period of 10 years through the reduction of nuisances (noise, heat, car traffic…) and improving comfort (air quality, spaces given back to pedestrians…),” PCA-stream explains in reference to its decision to limit car traffic.
“The étoile intersection is reinvented as a public plaza geared towards tourists and Parisians who come to contemplate the Arc de Triomphe. On the avenue, the promenade experience makes a comeback and flâneurs will be able to stroll up and down the historic boulevard in an atmosphere greatly improved by the reduction in motor traffic.”
These design decisions, namely the prioritization of green and pedestrian-focused space, were informed by public input gathered by the Champs-Élysées committee. This group has been pushing for a renovation since 2018 with the mission to “modernize, de-stress, and encourage Parisians to come back” to the avenue. Despite the committee and widespread desire to modernize the avenue, such a large project—1.2 miles— cannot be completed by the 2024 Summer Olympics planned for Paris. The city hopes that the Champs-Élysées will be completely modernized by 2030 according to PCA-stream’s plan.
Architect Philippe Chiambaretta, of PCA-stream, summarizes an important mission for the redesign, stating, “It was always designed for the people and shouldn’t just be a luxury avenue.”