Out with the old, in with the new - Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées

Old fashioned lights on the left, LEDs on the right.

Call me old fashioned, but Christmas lights are supposed to look like they did when I was a child and not like the new space age light-emitting diodes (LEDs) adorning 200 of the trees along the Champs Elysées. As envisioned by ACT Lighting Design, the Belgian company whose proposal was selected from amongst 27 other international projects, the three rings encircling the trees are supposed to appear as if they're floating above the ground, while metallic mirrors hanging from the branches flutter in the wind and reflect the colored lights. It sounds magical, doesn't it?

In reality, the 13,685 yards (12,485 meters of red, green and blue LEDs cast a garish glow that is more futuristic than festive. The upside, however, is that they're more eco-friendly. Power consumption will be 31,000 kWh per year versus 50,000 kWh between 2007-10 and 480,000 kWh before 2006.

The three rings, symbolizing unity and gathering, are independently controlled with some special surprises in store for the evenings of December 24 and January 1. 

As the Champs-Elysées welcomes 500,000-600,000 visitors each day during the holiday season, the LED displays will be getting a lot of attention from 2011-15. 

Out with the old, in with the new energy saving LEDs - what do you think?


  1. I agree - much too modern and cold feeling :( The old ones were much prettier....but that is a LOT of energy they are saving!

  2. I have been so underwhelmed by them . Last year's "dripping " blue lights were so much prettier!

  3. horrible, yes, garish and cold, don't like them at all. They are like the special lighting that's being installed en route to major airports now, making it uglier to the airport all the time. And okay, it's saving energy, but it's also disappointing. Truth be told, I wasn't sure I was going to like the lighting of the Eiffel Tower either, but it won me over.

    Is the Avenue Montaigne still all wrapped up for the holidays as well? I always loved going there. Once the building were all wrapped in red ribbon with Pere Noel descending from the facades of the buildings, like a burglar.

    I'm back home, so happy! Had a wonderful Thanksgiving but so happy to come home to the noises of my own home.

  4. They're certainly striking. Maybe a touch too much blue? However, it's good that they're relatively ecofriendly.

    Still no Christmas lights on round here yet! A few bare Christmas trees are appearing on the pavements but that's as far as we've got!

  5. Not to be a joy kill but I really don't like them. A little to 2001 Sci-Fi for my simple holiday tastes. En plus...Seb told me the lights cost a million euros!

  6. Joseph, Glad to hear that had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your relatives and that you're safely back at home. Funnily enough, we walked down Avenue Montaigne on Thursday night because Stephane kept insisting that he wanted to go down the street with all of the white lights. The buildings aren't wrapped but the street is beautifully decorated. I should do another post with the other lights that I've noticed around town. The George V has traditional white lights.

    Steph, The lights change colors so sometimes they're blue and other times they're red, green or even a purplish color. They still haven't turned on the lights in our arrondissement, so maybe we're on the same schedule as you.

    Mlle Ella, I'm with you! The only consolation about that one million Euros price tag is that the city of Paris is "only" paying 220,000 Euros. Thank goodness that the rest is covered by the partners and committee of the Champs Elysees.


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