• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Champs Elysées transformed as rents push out old-timers

AFP · 8 Jan 2013, 09:43

Published: 08 Jan 2013 09:43 GMT+01:00

The music and book unit of the company, known in France as a "culture" retailer and which was expected to declare itself insolvent Tuesday, is the latest to leave the Champs as clothing chains, luxury goods shops and automobile showrooms take over.

Cinemas, which once dominated facades, have shrunk to a shadow of their former selves, though a couple of prestigious theatres have survived.

At up to €18,000 ($23,500) per square metre, the tree-lined avenue and its broad sidewalks that extend nearly two kilometres (one mile) from the Arch of Triumph to the Place de la Concorde, was ranked as the third  most expensive retail street in the world by Cushman & Wakefield, after Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and New York's Fifth Avenue.

Among the brands that might move into the space vacated by the Virgin Megastore despite rents that leapt by 30 percent last year, are Apple, US clothing chain Forever 21, Harrod's, or Volkswagen.

"With 30 million tourist visitors per year, the Champs has become a kind of obligatory site for major brands, which logically want a showcase here," said a spokesperson for the Champs Elyseés committee, which groups retailers along the avenue.

Other brands that have set up shop include Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Disney, Gap, Guerlain and the chocolate specialist Jeff de Bruges, while jeweller Tiffany is expected to replace one of the many fast-food outlets next year.

"The Champs are in a full transformation," acknowledged Dominique Giraudier, head of the food-oriented Group Flo, which plans to shut down its Bistro Romain restaurant.

Paris town hall concerned

According to Cushman and Wakefield, rents on the avenue have been pushed higher by luxury goods groups and major international brands.

Groups of sightseers are constantly photographing the Louis Vuitton store, where there is often a line of people waiting to be admitted to snap up the French fashion house's monogrammed luxury items.

Barclays, BNP Paribas and HSBC banks stock ATMs so tourists do not run out of pocket money.

"Like the others we are highly sought after" by foreign brands, said Giraudier from Group Flo, and "since rents are soaring ... our business model will not hold out for long against this upscale trend."

A post office that was once a fixture on the avenue is long gone, and music stores like FNAC, which like Virgin is struggling to compete against Internet downloads and electronic goods sales, are likely to follow.

Story continues below…

Around 15 cinemas have shut down in the past 25 years, changing the face of an avenue that nonetheless remains a popular throughfare for singles and couples on weekend nights.

But officials at the Paris town hall are concerned that the Champs image could be affected by a certain "banalisation" due to the massive presence of uniform brands found all around the world.

The Champs Elysées committee contests that view however, and underscores the "diversity of offers – theatre, clothing, leisure and culinary – that continue to define the avenue."

The group no doubt agrees with New York-born French songwriter Joe Dassin who sang in his 1969 hit: "In the sunshine and the rain, at noon or midnight, everything you could want is on the Champs Elysées."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Summer in France: The top ten beaches
Photo: Gomezdegomera/Flickr

How many have you been to?

France braces for busiest day of traffic all summer
Photo: AFP

Thinking of driving this weekend? The French are being advised to think twice.

Opinion
'France has problems but it's not on brink of civil war'
A French police officer stands in front of a Muslim prayer room after it was destroyed by a fire, suspected to be arson, in Ajaccio.. Photo: AFP

While certain French politicians and security chiefs have openly talked of the nightmare prospect of civil war in France, one expert tells The Local the country is too resolute to go down that path.

Ten hidden gems in France you should visit this summer
Photo: Erik Harström/Flickr

Looking for holiday ideas this summer?

What's on: Ten cool things to do in France in August 2016
Photo: AFP

August is almost here - and we've got you covered for events.

Paris in August: Should you stay or should you go now?
Photo: AFP

When it comes to August in Paris, you're either a stayer or a goer. But which is the best choice?

French PM: 'France needs new relationship with Islam'
Photo: AFP

As France struggles to get to grips with an increasing number of terror attacks the French PM says the country needs a new relationship with Islam.

France's Muslims urged to attend mass in solidarity
Photo: AFP

A leading Muslim group in France has called on its community to attend a church mass this Sunday to show solidarity with Christians after the recent jihadist killing of a priest.

Hopes hit as France reports 'disappointing' zero growth
Photo: AFP

Hopes of small economic growth in France were hit on Friday when the latest GDP figures were announced.

Air France strike affects 30,000 passengers each day
Photo: AFP

The week-long Air France cabin crew strike continued on Friday with some 30,000 passengers hit by cancellations each day.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Travel
Summer in France: The top ten beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
2,755
jobs available