Three, two, one… Light! The launch of the Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées found its audience on Sunday evening after a virtual 2020 edition, due to the coronavirus. Nearly 110,000 curious people flocked to the most beautiful avenue in the world, according to the Champs-Elysées Committee, organizer of the event. Although quite brief – about fifteen minutes at the most -, the ceremony attracted the local political gratin, since in addition to Clara Luciani, the godmother of the Illuminations, were present Anne Hidalgo, the first deputy Emmanuel Grégoire, Sylvain Maillard, deputy LREM du coin, or Jeanne d’Hauteserre, LR mayor of the 8th arrondissement and particularly happy to be there.
At 7:10 p.m., ignoring the political rivalries, they collectively pressed the trigger with Abbygaëlle and Lalie, two young girls hospitalized and invited by the Les Petits Princes association. Suddenly, the plane trees on the avenue were adorned with red while red / silver confetti flooded the stage with a background sound Breathe again by Clara Luciani. At the end of the ceremony, 20 Minutes was able to ask Anne Hidalgo a few questions.
Are these Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées a message to tourists to tell them: “Come back again to admire the City of Light”?
Sure ! First of all, because Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, it is a city that people love. More and more tourists are coming back, they have found their way back to this city they love too. It is to tell them that we open our arms to them, that the city is ready for the Christmas holidays, ready for this extraordinary welcome.
Are you ready for a possible fifth wave of coronavirus?
We are all very worried, of course, when we see the figures so we must, of course, increase vaccination. And then of course, continue to have all these barrier gestures that still make it possible to prevent transmission.
Are these illuminations a response to the criticisms of your political opponents who denounce an “ugliness of Paris”?
There are perhaps sincere Parisians among the critics and things must always be improved, but frankly only look at what would be negative or to improve and never what is going well, it is not my state of mind. And this is not the state of mind of Parisians who, moreover, gave me confidence in March 2020. I work, I make sure that this city remains and becomes even more attractive. She is. I travel abroad a lot and people recognize me for having accomplished changes that are essential. I am of course thinking of the whole transformation which today allows us to breathe better in this city. It’s something that is hailed around the world, so if there are still some grieving spirits, that’s okay.
You’re on the move next week, will you miss Paris?
I still miss Paris and Paris is always in my heart. Moreover, Paris is very present in the hearts of the French. I was listening to the two children who were there tonight and their dream was to come to Paris first. Everywhere in France, everywhere in the world, Paris is a city that we love, that the French people love and it warms my heart because this is the message that I am often sent when I travel everywhere in France.