Champs-Elysées - History and perspectives: Go and (re)discover them!


On the Champs-Élysées, the city was built with infinite progress in mind. Three centuries after their creation, cars, noise, pollution, tourism, globalisation of the commercial offer, neglected gardens are harming the use of the avenue and its appropriation by Parisians. The exhibition Champs-Élysées, history & perspectivesThe "Champs-Élysées Study", organised at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal until 10 May, presents the study carried out on the initiative of the Champs-Élysées Committee by Philippe Chiambaretta, with the collaboration of some fifty French and international researchers, historians, scientists, engineers, artists and economic and cultural players. It retraces the evolution of the "most beautiful avenue in the world", analyses its current uses and proposes a vision of its possible evolution in the light of contemporary issues. It also invites everyone to participate in its metamorphosis.

Through drawings, films, unpublished photographs, engravings and specially created maps, the exhibition traces the history of this avenue imagined by Le Nôtre in 1664, baptized Champs-Élysées from 1709 and laid out by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and Adolphe Alphand in the 19th century.
It also questions its current state and the problems arising from modern ambition and neglected gardens. Today, two-thirds of the passers-by on the Champs-Élysées are tourists, 85% of whom come from abroad. If one removes those who work in the neighbourhood and people in transit (less than 15 minutes in the neighbourhood), Parisians now only represent 5 % of the users of the avenue.

As part of the global awareness of the need for change in this area in the context of the environmental crisis, demographic acceleration and growing inequalities, the exhibition and the accompanying work reexamine the potential of the avenue with the aim of linking the local level to the major contemporary urban issues.
Reducing the number and intensity of heat islands, making soils more permeable, increasing the surface area of greenery, facilitating soft mobility, enhancing the value of existing heritage and gardens, inventing new types of financing or partnerships, designing and programming in a concerted and inclusive manner, building while consuming less, to finally allow the inhabitants to reappropriate their Champs-Élysées.

In order to invite everyone to participate in the debate and in this metamorphosis, the event is conceived as a collective and participative adventure. Initiated by the economic and cultural actors of the avenue, the diagnosis and perspectives become supports for discussion, debate and exchange via the platform.

At the same time, pedagogical workshops help to raise awareness among the young public and schoolchildren, urban walks offer an immersion in the world of the city. in situ, Conferences bring together experts and actors around the social, urban and architectural challenges of this unique territory.

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Urban walks: to (re)discover history and its possible evolutions

The Champs-Elysées - aerial photo © a.grignard

On the occasion of the event " Champs-Elysées - History and outlook« The Pavillon de l'Arsenal, in partnership with the Comité Champs-Elysées, offers a series of urban walks to (re)discover in situ history, current events and forward-looking thinking to transform this emblematic territory.

How to enhance the value of existing heritage and gardens? How to reduce the nuisance of mobility? What more inclusive and concerted programming for new uses? How can Parisians be allowed to reappropriate the avenue? What solutions can be found to reduce the number of heat islands and make the ground more permeable? As part of the participative and unifying will of the Champs-Elysées event, each walk is also an opportunity to discuss and debate the major contemporary issues facing the city. At the end of the walk, walkers will also be invited to share their ideas for the future of the Champs-Elysées on the online platform.

Guided by the architects of the association Guiding architects, each walk (about 2h30) is an opportunity to review the incredible history of this place, to compare archive documents and the built reality, to understand the contemporary issues of this territory and finally to understand on the spot the redevelopment proposals proposed by the agency. PCA-Stream for the Champs-Élysées committee.

Saturdays 7, 14, 21 and 28 March, 4, 18, 25 April and 9 May at 10 am - Duration: 2h30
Groups of up to 25 people - Free city walks on reservation
Mandatory registration

Educational workshops

Designed by the architects of More + Better Creation Like a huge game of cadaver-exquisite drawings, the workshop begins with a guided tour of the exhibition through drawing: at each stage (history, diagnosis, future vision), the children discover the strong and characteristic points of the Champs-Élysées (visual axis, vegetation, buildings, mobility, events and uses...) and draw their interpretation of them.

The various proposals assembled and arranged make up a collective and idealized representation of this emblematic territory. The children then imagine new activities in different places (Place de la Concorde, gardens, avenue haute, Place de l'Étoile...) and give the floor to imaginary characters that they stage in this huge collective fresco: How to live in the gardens? Which modes of transport should be favoured? What type of vegetation for what purpose? Or what kind of space for what kind of event?

Saturdays from 7 March to 9 May 2020 at 2.30 pm - Price: 5€ / 1h30 / For 7-14 year olds.

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"Champs-Elysées - History and Perspectives", the book

Trafic road, noise pollution, air pollution, globalisation of the commercial offer, partitioning of spaces and uses, " la plus belle avenue du monde " is upset. Its squares and gardens, deserted by Parisians, must now begin to change and allow everyone to reappropriate this exceptional heritage.

Beyond urban issues, the challenges of the new climate regime must preside over this transformation. The défis are nombreux : reduce the number and intensity of heat islands, make soils more perméables ; free up, unifier and increase space verts ; promote mobility douces ; enhance heritage existant ; build without consuming davantage ; continue to grow without increasing the environmental debt, invent new types of financements and partnerships...

The Champs-Élysées study, history & perspectives, conducted by the agency PCA-STREAM on the initiative of the Champs-Élysées Committee, is re-reading the urban and symbolic construction of this territory. It diagnoses it in the light of local issues and contemporary challenges in order to offer a new vision, based on the collaborative work of a large team of international experts - researchers, historians, economic and cultural players, scientifiques, artists... The expectations and calculations demonstrate the feasibility of this transformation and, by anticipation, the possible evolution of public and tourist spaces in the metropolises of tomorrow.

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Exhibition produced by the Pavillon de l'Arsenal with the Comité Champs-Élysées - 21 Boulevard Morland - 75004 - Paris 

Study conducted by the architect Philippe Chiambaretta - PCA-STREAM

Header image : PCA-STREAM Project

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