Audrey Tautou lights up Champs-Elysées

Actress and face of Chanel Audrey Tautou switched on the Christmas lights on Paris' premier shopping avenue, the Champs-Elysées, on Wednesday evening.

Audrey Tautou lights up Champs-Elysées

The hovering hoops around the avenue’s 200 trees mark a break with the traditional display of lights dotted in the trees’ branches.

“We’re no longer lighting up the trees but the whole avenue,” said Jean-Noël Reinhardt, the president of the Comité Champs-Elysées which organizes the lights.

“We’re breaking the tradition of vertical decorations in each tree to create a horizontal perspective along the avenue,” he said, reported La Gazette des Communes.

Each tree carries three hoops which are programmed to run through 67 distinct colours with different levels of intensity. 

Belgian company ACT Lighting Design was selected from a competition to design the display. Organizers claimed that the electricity required was being offset through a partnership with a solar farm in the south of France. 

The lights, which cost €1 million ($1.34 million), already use 16 times less electricity than the traditional lightbulbs that were used until 2007.

Audrey Tautou is best known for the 2001 film Amélie and her role as Sophie Neveu in The Da Vinci Code. She played Coco Chanel in the 2009 film Coco Before Chanel and acts as the model for the brand’s Chanel No. 5 perfume.

The 1.9 kilometre (1.2 mile) avenue des Champs-Elysées runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. It is known for its shops, cinemas and luxury stores including Louis Vuitton and Cartier.

Audrey Tautou illumine les Champs Elysées par mairiedeparis

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Traders say 80 businesses hit in ‘yellow vest’ rampage

Some 80 shops and businesses on the Champs-Elysées avenue in Paris were vandalised this weekend when "yellow vest" protesters went on the rampage, with about 20 looted or torched, retailers said on Sunday.

Traders say 80 businesses hit in 'yellow vest' rampage
The handbag retailer Longchamp was badly vandalised. Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP
Saturday's demonstrations were characterised by a sharp increase in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout, with hooded protesters looting and torching shops along the famed avenue.
It was the 18th consecutive weekend of demonstrations which began in mid-November as a protest against fuel price hikes but have since morphed into a potent anti-government movement.
“There was a wave of violence, we're dealing with the aftermath of the chaos. We're trying to reassure all the employees and then there are those who live here, too,” said Jean-Noel Reinhardt, head of the Committee Champs-Elysées, a local association with 180 members, most of them businesses. 
He said residents and business owners were pushing for talks with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe “to share our exasperation and explain our complaints. 
“The authorities must put an end to this situation,” he insisted. Since the beginning, the prestigious avenue, which is known for its shops, cafes and luxury boutiques, has been the focal point for the demonstrations which have often turned violent, sparking running battles between police and protesters. 
On Saturday, the police appeared overrun as protesters swarmed the area, vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet's brasserie, a favourite hangout of the rich and famous for the past century — as well as luxury handbag store Longchamp.
Clothing outlets Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Celio were also damaged, as well as a bank, a chocolatier and several newsstands.   
“Enough is enough. And this Saturday went too far!” raged Bernard Stalter, president of CMA France, a national network of chambers of trades and crafts. 
He also demanded a meeting with top ministers “this week in order to find solutions which will put an end to a situation which has become as volatile as it is unacceptable.”