France has the Champs-Élysées, New Orleans has St. Charles Street, and Mexico City has the Paseo de la Reforma. More than just a major thoroughfare that spans the length of the city, the street is a historical touchstone to remind all who pass through of the robust history of Mexico City.
Once commissioned by then-newly crowned emperor Maximilian, the Paseo de la Reforma was built to connect the center of the city with his imperial residence, Chapultepec Castle in Chapultepec Park. Originally named after his beloved, the promenade was named Paseo de la Emparitz. After Maximilian’s execution and the liberation of the Mexican people, the street was renamed the Paseo de la Reforma and has since stood as a testament to the resiliency of the Mexican people.
Today, the most prominent buildings in Mexico City reside along the avenue. For a time during President Diego’s regime, the paseo became popular with the Mexican elite, and some European styled houses developed. Also along the paseo are many historic monuments, including ones to Cuauhtémoc, Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín and Christopher Columbus.
The Paseo de la Reforma runs from Chapultepec Park to the northeastern end of Mexico City.