The Champs-Élysées is the most prestigious and broadest avenue in Paris. Its full name is actually "Boulevard des Champs-Élysées". With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, and with rents as high as $1.25 million a year for 1,000 square feet of space, it remains the 2nd most expensive strip of real estate in the world (the first in Europe) after New York City's Fifth Avenue. The name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology.
The Champs-Élysées is known as La plus belle avenue du monde ("The most beautiful avenue in the world"). The arrival of global chain stores in recent years has slightly changed the character of the avenue, and in a first effort to stem these changes, the Paris City government (which has called this "banalization") decided in 2007 to ban the Swedish clothing chain H&M from opening a store on the avenue. This street is also very popular with many of the rich and famous
The avenue runs for 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) through the 8th arrondissement in northwestern Paris, from the Place de la Concorde in the east, with its obelisk, to the Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly the Place de l'Étoile) in the west, location of the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Élysées forms part of the Axe historique. One of the principal tourist destinations in Paris, the lower part of the Champs-Élysées is bordered by greenery (Marigny Square) and by buildings such as the Théâtre Marigny and the Grand Palais (containing the Palais de la Découverte). The Elysée Palace is a little bit to the north, not on the avenue itself. Further to the west, the avenue is lined with cinemas, theaters, cafés and restaurants (most notably Fouquet's), and luxury specialty shops.