We crossed over the Seine on Pont de l’Alma bridge. The right bank side of the bridge is close to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales, was tragically killed in the infamous car accident. There is a Flame of Liberty monument there that has become an unofficial memorial to Diana. The Flame of Liberty monument is actually a full-sized, replica of the torch flame carried in the hand of the Statue of Liberty, New York City.
You’ll easily recognize this spot by the throngs of tourists with cameras (like me) snapping a picture and bending over to look in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel with the heavy traffic speeding by. A wrong turn somewhere while looking for the Avenue des Champs-Elysees that ended up in front of the prestigious Four Seasons George V Hotel. Really discombobulated, another turn and we were on the fancy Avenue Montaigne. The Avenue Montaigne is named after Michel Montaigne, remember? The statue whose foot we rubbed for good luck in exams on Rue des Ecoles?
The Plaza Athenee Hotel where the least expensive room begins at 595 Euros per night was now directly in front of us with ultra expensive and haute couture salons running up and down both sides of the street. I vaguely recall walking down the Avenue Montaigne ages ago when ex-Marine recognized Farrah Fawcett exiting the Plaza Athenee. Dior, Prada, Escada, Fendi, Chanel. Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jil Sander (with a $6,000 ensemble in the window that I lusted over). Surf the Avenue Montaigne Guide for even more information.
Men in suits and ties along with stylishly dressed women were “dining” in restaurants and good old Harry Winston had quite a few armed guards patrolling in front of his store with good reason. It was only one short year ago that the Harry Winston boutique was robbed of more than 80 million Euros/$100 million U.S. worth of “diamond rings, necklaces and luxury watches.” You don’t suppose they might have accidently dropped something on the streets do you?
Heading in the right direction towards the Champs-Elysees, workmen were erecting small shops along the entire street length for Christmas boutiques along with decorations. By now, we were ravenous and headed back to the Left Bank of the Seine towards our hotel, still on the lookout for a nice restaurant… (I am nothing if not single-minded!)