If you’ve ever wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris, then you now have all the more reason to. Starting this year, the city is planning a festive celebration on the Champs-Elysées, one they hope will rival the famous countdown that takes place in Times Square every year.
The city has finally decided to inaugurate a special festive event that will take place on New Year’s Eve on the Champs-Elysées, according to a source close to the mayor’s office. In past years, crowds of people gathered on the Champs-Elysées informally, just to have somewhere to go where they could be amongst tens of thousands of other people for St. Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve).
Champs-Elysées on a winter's dawn — Photo courtesy of Benh Lieu Song
But there was always that central organizing principle of a midnight countdown or fireworks that was lacking. True, in 2000, as a special millennium celebration, fireworks were set off at the Eiffel Tower. But it was just a one-off, not meant to be continued.
So for this year, after much deliberation, the city has chosen the Champs-Elysées, not the Eiffel Tower, to be the point of action for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. And they have decided not to set off fireworks, since this is normally done on July 14, the French Independence Day, at the Eiffel Tower.
The aim is to create a unique event, one that is altogether singularly about ringing in the New Year, and one that puts a spotlight on the Champs-Elysées, from the Place de la Concorde all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe.
The plan is to set apart the avenue as an entire pedestrian zone for the whole evening and into the wee hours of the morning. That means that most of the métro stations along the avenue will be closed off during the evening and throughout the night, so access to the Avenue de Champs-Elysées will be by foot as you approach from the bus, Velib’ and métro stations around it.
The city has also said that they intend to have strict security throughout the night on the Champs to ensure safety for all.
The details of the plans have not yet been formally announced. As of now, we know only that the Arc de Triomphe will be the focal point for the festivities and that the Champs-Elysées will be a pedestrian zone throughout the evening and night.
So mark your calendars to be one of the first thousands of people on the Champs-Elysées this year to celebrate 2015 at the city’s inaugural New Year’s Eve holiday event. Be sure to dress warmly, and bring lots of good cheer.