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Paris’ Champs-Elysees turned into a massive picnic blanket

Paris’ Champs-Elysees turned into a massive picnic blanket
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Paris’ traffic-clogged Champs-Elysees turned into a mass picnic blanket for an unusual meal

The French capital’s most famous street, the Champs-Elysees, transformed into a massive picnic blanket on Sunday as around 4,000 people sat in the sun enjoying an alfresco meal.

The lucky picnickers were selected via a draw and provided with free baskets loaded with delicacies from some top Paris chefs, including puff pastries and creative sandwiches.

The food was prepared in eight temporary kitchens set up along the avenue and provided by restaurants along the avenue, which include the famed Fouquet’s – as well as McDonald’s.

The aim of the event was to show that the Champs-Elysees, famous for its expensive boutiques and restaurants, was not only good for shopping, said Marc-Antoine Jamet, president of the organiser, the Champs-Elysees Committee.

People take part in the giant open-air picnic. Photo: AFP

“It’s a way of telling Parisians: ‘Come back to the Champs-Elysees’”, he said.

A giant tablecloth running 216 metres from the Arc de Triomphe to the intersection of Avenue George V served as the sitting area for the event, which came exactly two months before Paris hosts the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

The tablecloth had a total surface area of 4,212 square metres (45,338 square ft) and was made in France from 100 per cent recycled fibres, according to organisers.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also visited the picnickers.

A top tourist attraction, the avenue has been gradually abandoned by locals in recent years.

The historic UGC Normandie cinema, which opened in 1937, is set to close in June due to decline in business.

On Monday, the Committee was due to present a 1,800-page study of possible ways to reinvent the Champs-Elysees.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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