• France's news in English
 

Champs Elysées transformed as rents push out old-timers

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.

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
Greece crisis
Hollande meets Merkel to seek way out of crisis
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens on Monday. Photo: AFP

Hollande meets Merkel to seek way out of crisis

UPDATED: French president François Hollande was due to hold talks with Germany's Angela Merkel in Paris on Monday as the heads of the eurozone's two biggest economies seek a solution to the Greece crisis. READ  

Far left and far right herald Greece’s 'No' vote
Marine Le Pen was thrilled by Sunday's Greek referendum result. Photo: AFP

Far left and far right herald Greece’s 'No' vote

While France’s mainstream parties differ wildly over what to do with Greece, the country’s more extreme political groups on the far left and the far right have both hailed the referendum result. READ  

Tour de France stage hit by almighty crash
Race chief Christian Prudhomme signals that the race has been "neutralised" after the crash. Photo: AFP

Tour de France stage hit by almighty crash

Stage three of the 2015 Tour de France had to be temporarily stopped on Monday after an almighty crash left several riders injured. See the dramatic video here. READ  

Paris to welcome Game of Thrones exhibition
The exhibition includes Khaleesi's dragon eggs. Screengrab: YouTube

Paris to welcome Game of Thrones exhibition

Paris may be in the midst of a scorching heatwave, but for Game of Thrones fans in the city winter is certainly coming, with the upcoming arrival of an exhibition devoted to the blockbuster TV series. READ  

Army to patrol Tour de France rail crossings
An image of the the riders crossing the train tracks in the Paris-Roubaix race just before a TGV arrives. Photo: Screengrab Eurosport

Army to patrol Tour de France rail crossings

French soldiers will guard every train crossing on the route on the Tour de France to stop riders going under the barrier, the government said Monday. READ  

Belgians are the bad boys of French roads
The most common driving offence in France is speeding. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Belgians are the bad boys of French roads

Belgian drivers commit an average of 1,150 driving offences per day in France, far more than other European nations, according to statistics released by France's road safety agency. READ  

French teen shoots dead own twin by accident
Tragedy in eastern France as a bother accidentally shoots his twin dead.Photo: AFP

French teen shoots dead own twin by accident

A tragic accident in eastern France on Sunday saw a 14-year-old French boy accidentally shoot his twin brother dead during a family dinner. READ  

Wanted: 50,000 more French civil servants
In 2013 there were 5.6 million civil servants on France's payroll. Photo: Crowd.

Wanted: 50,000 more French civil servants

A whopping 20 percent of France’s working population is on the payroll of the state. But new figures reveal that there are still 50,000 posts that need to be filled. READ  

Fine French wines to mature in Atlantic Ocean
Is storing wine in the sea the future? Photo: Credit Agricole GC

Fine French wines to mature in Atlantic Ocean

Will wine lovers be storing their priciest plonk at the bottom of the sea in future, instead of in their basements? An experiment underway off the coast of western France could soon give us the answer. READ  

European heatwave
Heatwave not finished with France just yet
People enjoy the mist from a water sprayer at the entrance of the 27th Eurockeennes music festival site in Belfort on July 4th. Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Heatwave not finished with France just yet

The heatwave that has baked France for almost week continued to leave huge parts of the country on alert on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
France has two new World Heritage sites, but here's ten you don't know
International
Does France really not need to fear a Grexit?
National
GPS helps blind French hikers cross mountains
National
Dreading the heatwave in France? Here's how to survive the sun
National
Brits might have the brighter economy but are the French happier?
Ryanair or French air traffic controllers: Who would you support?
How life will change in France as of July 1st
These are best places in Paris to escape the heatwave
Ten beaches in France where you'd love to be during the heatwave
Calais chaos: Travellers left to curse 'striking French'
Society
Why the French are right to strike (but perhaps not burn tracks)
National
Frenchwoman dies as bungee jump ends in tragedy
Travel
The most beautiful French villages you've never heard of
National
Can we really feel any sympathy for French taxi drivers?
Feigned French shock over US spying is not fooling anyone
Gallery
When Franco-American relations turn sour - Ten transatlantic scraps
Sport
Dozens fall violently ill after 'mud race' in France
How a genetically modified 'jellyfish-lamb' ended being eaten in France
Culture
Ten must-visit movie scene locations in Paris
National
Paris to return historic squares to the people
Forget Nutella here's eight things the French should really give up
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
It's time to lay off the French - They are not that rude
National
Just look at what France has given the United States over the years
Health
France's creaking health service must change if it wants to stay world's best
National
French warn UK: 'Brexit could be your Waterloo'
Europe commemorates 200 years since Waterloo
National
Waterloo: What you need to know about Napoleon
French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Is it time for France's empty churches to be turned into mosques?
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
Society
French school teacher shows his pupils porn film
National
IN PICTURES: See the blaze that ravaged a French basilica
Video: Tourists shocked by Calais migrants scramble
The French words the English language needs to steal right now
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
13 ways France aims to become more welcoming to tourists
Education
Expat parents protest changes to admissions for Paris bilingual schools
Education
Test yourself: Just how good is your French grammar?
Travel
France to spend 'hundreds of millions' on tourism
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,590
jobs available