André Malraux, the novelist and minister of culture under Charles de Gaulle, told a French-American journalist in the 1960s that the Champs-Élysées — then considered the most beautiful avenue in the world — had “an American basement.” Today, American business and its brands are prominently aboveground on a Champs-Élysées that has largely lost its distinctive character and has become far less French.
The subject line is from Baudelaire's Le Cygne:
Le vieux Paris n'est plus (la forme d'une ville
Change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel)