The western boundary of the Place de la Concorde is no less attractive than those which have been mentioned. As the square itself is easily the first of city areas, so the promenade of the Champs-Ely-sees, which begins at this point, is the most imposing of all avenues. The long perspective of the Elysian Fields upon a Sunday, or a holiday, is the most perfect spectacle of the kind that any city in the world can show. On this ascending plane, a mile and a half in length, one gazes then upon a moving host of horses, carriages, and riders, flanked on the right and left by a still larger army of pedestrians, behind whom are acres upon acres of delightful shade-trees, cafes, walks, and open-air theatres.
A Cafe Chantant, Champs-Elysees.
During the daytime, most of the places of entertainment here lie dormant, but when the enchantress, Night, waves over them her sable wand, they spring into activity and splendor. Rows of electric lights not only flood them with illumination, but spell out their names and programmes in characters of fire. In a word, the Elys-ian Fields of Paris form a vast network of light and music, within whose glittering meshes hundreds assemble to enjoy a long nocturnal festival. At the summit of this promenade rises the crowning object in its long perspective, the Arch of Triumph of the Star. The reason for its name is evident, when one considers its position; for, from this as a centre, radiate like the points of a star, no less than twelve grand avenues, each one of which is so spacious and majestic as not to lose much by comparison with the Champs-Elysees. It was a stroke of genius to place this Arch of Triumph here. Its situation at the union of twelve stately avenues, each of which sweeps away as grandly as the radiance of a search-light on the sky at night, is unsurpassed, and makes the approach to Paris from this side the most imposing in the world. The Place de la Concorde at one extremity, - the Gate of Triumph at the other, and the Champs-Elysees between them, - these form a trio that defies comparison. To say that this is the grandest triumphal arch ever constructed is a strong statement; but it is literally true. One is obliged to use superlatives in Paris. Built in the style of the old Roman arches, it nevertheless surpasses them in its proportions and in the superb effect that it produces. As is well known, it was erected in memory of Napoleon's victories; in fact, its corner-stone was laid upon the anniversary of the Emperor's birthday. Around the summit, one hundred and sixty feet above the pavement, is a series of medallions, each of which bears the name of some important battle-field; and on the sides are numerous marble tableaux in relief, portraying notable events in Bonaparte's campaigns. On each of the pilasters is a colossal group of statuary, the most remarkable of which portrays France calling on her children to take arms in her defense. Another represents Napoleon crowned by Victory. Beside him kneels a suppliant figure, symbolic of a vanquished nation; behind him History records his exploits on her tablets; while over him triumphant Fame proclaims them to the world. Yet the revolving wheel of fortune, turned by the hand of Time, brings strange reversals and revenges. Thus, in 1814, under this then unfinished gate advanced the allied armies to celebrate, in the Place de la Concorde, the downfall of the first Napoleon; and, in 1871, the soldiers of Prussia came as far as this arch, to emphasize their triumph over France by the invasion of her capital.
The Arch Of Triumph, Champs-Elysees.
The Round Point Of The Champs-Elysees.
The Napoleon Group On The Arch Of Triumph.
On The Way To The Bois.
In The Bois De Boulogne.