The Grands Boulevards district stretches west to east across several different arrondissements, from the elegant place de la Madeline, via the place de l’Opéra, to the recently renovated place de la République. The layout of the wide boulevards that give the area its name dates from the 17th century, but it was the Haussmannian redevelopment in the 19th century that gave the streets their current, stately and typically Parisian look. The western end of the neighbourhood includes some of the capital’s most glamorous shops and flagship branches of top department stores such as the Galleries Lafayette, as well as equally glamorous apartment buildings. It used to be that as you went east the glamour faded away, but the gentrification that began in the Marais has burst its boundaries into the Arts and Mètiers district and may yet claim the previously shabby boulevard St. Denis.
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