PARIS, Monday, October 10: - I should have gone to see the DS parade even if it
was so early in the morning. The weather was clear; it was warm and still. I thought, oh, another big event on the Champs-Elysées.
It is two-thirds as wide as a football field is long and it's very long. Put in 1600 DS' sliding down it and what have you
got? The Champs Elysées part of their parade wasn't even shown on the TV-news. I can't trust them with anything.
I was finally up there, probably about three hours later, figuring that some of these DS crazies would be taking Sunday drives.
A lot of people do - come in at Concorde and sweep around the Obelisque and hit the avenue with its super long view up to
the Arc, and roll up there and twirl around the Etoile in the sunshine - you can go around as often as you want - it's free.
And then peel off into the top of the avenue and nearly coast all the way back to Concorde, using the Obelisque as the gunsight
blade behind the doodad on the hood.
Meanwhile, a quarter-million
folks are on the sidewalks, one on the sunny side and the other in the shade. Most of the shops are closed but all the cinemas,
restaurants and cafés are open and many have terraces even on the shady side. Plus Louis Vuitton is having a gala opening
at George V - Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder among the VIPs and 2000 other glitzer volk, not forgetting Catherine
Deneuve of course. In the evening only the newly renovated Petit Palais is good enough for the ball, possibly because the
newly renovated Grand Palais across the street is full of some other grand promo.
When you get to the Rond-Point you
leave the 'famous' Champs Elysées for the rest, which is equally long and wide, but is flanked by wide paths and lines of
trees. In these are ritzy pavilions, parks, theatres and the palaces, the Petit and Grand. The used stamp market is in here
[as in the movie - editor] and there are rustic snack kiosks, toilets, and it is a long park on either side of the avenue, with the leaves
going brown at the moment.
The avenue ends, or begins, at the Place de la Concorde. This is a big stone place with
an island in the middle with the Obelisque sticking up and two fountains, one of the seas and the other of rivers. Folks making
the trek from the Tuileries on the other side stop to inspect the gilt diagrams on the Obelisque and wonder about the sexual
aspects of the fountain figures. You could say that Concorde with its Obelisque and Etoile with its Arc form a unit joined
by the Champs-Elysées and the whole otto is a singularly rich and unique experience several kilometres long and very wide.
Others might say that it extends through the garden of the Tuileries to the east wing of the Louvre in the Cour Napoléon.
If you stand by this wing you can see the close-up Pyramid, slightly off the axis, the Obelisque and the Arc way off in the
distance. It is in fact a geographical unit, actually extending beyond the Arc, but the Champs Elysées part is a piece of
its own. For a straight-line walk it has to be one of the best and it's hard to think of anywhere else that matches it. Of
course, a sunny Sunday makes it better.
And I was right. Swimming along with the Sunday drivers were these shark-like
cars, the Citroën DS. Fifty years later, coming into the avenue at Clemenceau past the Grand Palais where they were first
shown to an astonished driving public. Now doing the rounds of the Champs-Elysées in the October sunshine with the windows
open, like God in France.
"Come in at Concorde and
sweep around the Obelisque and hit the avenue with its super long view up to the Arc, and roll up there and twirl around the
Etoile in the sunshine - you can go around as often as you want - it's free."
Yes, Planet Hollywood
on the Champs Elysées –
The Champs Elysées