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Inline Skate Police Keep Watch as Champs-Élysées Becomes Strip Mall Some Say

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If for no other reason we here in the United States remember the Champs-Élysées as the scene of many yellow jerseyed moments over the last few years. But it seems the French are worried that the street has descended into megastore commercialism, losing the flavor held so long as a romantic refuge for artists and those who love them. A recent piece in the International Herald Tribune mentions skating police briefly among many other interesting facts and opinions...

Around-the-clock saturation of the street by teams of uniformed and plainclothes police — in buses and cars, on rollerblades and foot — has made it safer for its up to 500,000 visitors a day.

As has happened so many places, high rents are keeping out or pushing out smaller, more often locally owned businesses.

...rents have quadrupled in a decade, driving out many movie theaters, cafés and restaurants and turning much of the avenue into a strip mall of chain stores that could be anywhere.

Hmm. I was just writing (unpublished) about this phenomenon here in the USA, even on not famous or infamous ragged streets, where a franchise can make it but a local shop may not.

Most of the music clubs are gone. More of the movie theaters are closing. Sometimes, all that seems to be left on the almost two kilometer stretch are the global chain stores that can afford the rent.

I guess after 340 years, a road can be forgiven for going through some changes, but wow, what a history:

The Champs-Élysées was conceived in 1667 as a grand approach to the royal palace at the Tuileries in what was then fields and swampland on the outskirts of Paris. In the 19th century it was planted with elms, renamed after the Elysian Fields of Greek mythology, and lined with hotels, cafés and luxurious private residences.

Good luck keeping your famous street in fine shape, Paris. And hopefully we'll have another USAmerican wearing yellow for Discovery this year...but it's looking more like an Italian this time, with an American or two in support, on a team packed to the gills with cycling power.

Check out the article on changes along the Champs-Élysées in the Intenational Herald Tribute.

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