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A short break of sun over Paris as seen from the Arc of Triomphe,the famous Champs-Elysees street and the Sacre Coeur at the far background.The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon I at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years, and in 1810 when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. The architect Jean Chalgrin died in 1811, and the work was taken over by Huyon. During the Restoration, construction was halted and would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 1833–36 when the architects on site were Goust then Huyot, under the direction of Héricart de Thury.The Champs-Elysées were originally fields and market gardens, until 1616, when Marie de Medici decided to extend the garden axis of the Palais des Tuileries with an avenue of trees. As late as 1716, Guillaume de L'Isle's map of Paris shows that a short stretch of roads and fields and market garden plots still separated the grand axe of the Tuileries gardens from the planted "Avenue des Thuilleries", which was punctuated by a circular basin where the Rond Point stands today; already it was planted with some avenues of trees radiating from it that led to the river through woods and fields. In 1724, the Tuileries garden axis and the avenue were connected and extended, leading beyond the Place de l'Étoile; the "Elysian Fields" were open parkland flanking it, soon filled in with bosquets of trees formally planted in straight rank and file. To the east the unloved and neglected "Vieux Louvre" (as it is called on the maps), still hemmed in by buildings, was not part of the axis. In a map of 1724, the Grande Avenue des Champs-Elisée stretches west from a newly-cleared Place du Pont Tournant soon to be renamed for Louis XV and now the Place de la Concorde.By the late 1700s, the Champs-Elysées had become a fashionable avenue; the bosquet plantings on either side had thickened enough to be given formal rectangular glades (cabinets de verdure). The gardens of houses built along the Faubourg St-Honoré backed onto the formal bosquets. The grandest of them was the Élysée Palace. A semi-circle of housefronts now defined the north side of the Rond Point. Queen Marie Antoinette drove with her friends and took music lessons at the grand Hôtel de Crillon on the Place Louis XV. The avenue from the Rond Point to the Etoile was built up during the Empire. The Champs-Elysées itself became city property in 1828, and footpaths, fountains, and gas lighting were added. Over the years, the avenue has undergone numerous transitions, most recently in 1994, when the sidewalks were widened.

The Champs-Elysées, because of its size and proximity to several Parisian landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, has made it the site of several famous (and infamous) military parades, the most famous of which were the march of German troops celebrating the Fall of France on June 14, 1940 and the subsequent entrance of Free French and American forces into the city after its liberation on August 25, 1944.
Info taken from Wikipedia

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Additional Photos by Panagiotis Dragomanidis (drago) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 149 N: 801] (4832)
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