The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (French pronunciation: [av(ə).ny de ʃɑ̃.ze.li.ze] ( listen)) is a street in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Champs-Élysées is arguably the most famous street—and one of the most expensive strips of real estate—in the world. Several French monuments are also on the street, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. According to a much used description, the Champs-Élysées is la plus belle avenue du monde ("the most beautiful avenue in the world").
The Axe historique (pronounced: [aks istɔʁik]) (English: historical axis) is a line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that extends from the centre of Paris, France, to the west. It is also known as the "Voie Triomphale" (triumphal way).
The Axe Historique began with the creation of the Champs Élysées, designed in the 17th century to create a vista to the west, extending the central axis of the gardens to the royal Palace of the Tuileries. Today the Tuileries Gardens (Jardins des Tuileries) remain, preserving their wide central pathway, though the palace was burned down during the Paris Commune, 1871.
Between the Tuileries gardens and the Champs Élysées extension a jumble of buildings remained on the site of Place de la Concorde until early in the reign of Louis XV, for whom the square was at first named. Then the garden axis could open through a grand gateway into the new royal square.
To the east, the Tuileries Palace faced an open square, the Place du Carrousel. There, by order of Napoleon, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was centered on the palace (and so on the same axial line that was developing beyond the palace). Long-standing plans to link the entrance court of the "Vieux Louvre", as the disused palace was called, with the court of the Tuileries, by sweeping away the intervening buildings, finally came to fruition in the early 19th century. Consequently, the older axis extending from the courtyard of the Louvre is slightly skewed to the rest of what has become the Axe historique, but the Arc du Carrousel, at the fulcrum between the two, serves to disguise the discontinuity.