Its name literally translates to Elysian Fields. And the Champs-Élysées has also been called La Plus Belle Avenue du Monde – the most beautiful street in the world.
Of course, throngs of tourists, and a fair degree of over-commercialization means that a stroll along the fabled avenue now also includes a Disney logo here, a Starbucks logo there. But a quick craning of the neck to take in the breathtaking Haussmann-era architecture, and you’ll quickly remember how it got its name.
We also vigorously recommend skipping the H&M and Marks & Spencer, for a genuinely Francaise shopping experience – which as of this week will include a temporary but no-less spectacular Dior boutique at number 127. It will act as the pro tempore Paris flagship, while the brand’s iconic HQ at 30 Avenue Montaigne undergoes what is expected to be an approximately two-year renovation.
And one notices right away that the new location is very much an homage to the former, as an optical-illusory drape bearing the image of 30 Avenue Montaigne covers, and will continue to cover the facade for the duration. But inside, hallmarks of exalted decorator Victor Grandpierre (subject of the 2018 book Dior and His Decorators) are very much in evidence, and no expense was spared in creating a space that is the genuine epitome of understated elegance. From Versailles parquet flooring, to the “ghostly” grand staircase, to a cabinet of curiosities displaying accessories, books and fragrances, to furnishings ay Paolo Castelli and Phillipe Malouin, to the house’s signature Cannage motif, it is all very, very Dior, indeed.
As for what will be unveiled along the Avenue Montaigne in 2021? Expect the newly renovated space to house three times the previous retail space, which will expand to 3000 square meters. And, very much in keeping with the 21st Century fashion zeitgeist, there will also be a new Dior branded restaurant and museum on site.