Résumé

By the decree of November 13, 1970, the Place de l'Etoile ("Star Square") changes its name to officially become the "Place Charles-de-Gaulle", after the death of "the General" 4 days earlier.
This square was created around 1670 and occupied the top of the northern part of the hill of Chaillot.
There were important works carried out between 1768 and 1774, to erase the top "so that the path would be of equal slope from the Place Louis XV (today's Place la Concorde) to the Neuilly Bridge ".
At the end of the 18th century, it was only a country crossroads at the edge of Paris. Around 1800, the square was a "star" limited to the intersection of the axis of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées-Avenue de Neuilly (de la Grande-Armée).
The constrution of the Arc-de-Triomphe last from 1806 to 1836. From 1845 to 1855, Place de l'Étoile was the site of a famous and very large open-air performance venue: the Hippodrome. Moreover, aerostatic ascents are also organized there. The one of September 24, 1852, where the aerostat Giffard rises, was an important step in the history of aeronautics.
In 1854, Empereur Napoleon III demanded Hittorff, to change the square by applying Haussmann's ideas. To the five existing star-shaped alleys in the middle of the lawns, seven new branches were added, without commerce but with 12 private mansions with gardens on the square side and entrance from the adjacent streets. This is the original idea which gave the look of the present Charles-de-Gaulle Square.

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Open hours

Horaires d'ouverture: 24 heures/24, 7 jours/7. L'Arc de Triomphe est ouvert tous les jours (sauf événement exceptionnel).
Tarifs: Gratuit pour tous.
L'accès à l'Arc de Triomphe est payant.

Opening hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Arc de Triomphe is open every day (except for special events).
Rates: Free for all.
Access to mount to the Arc de Triomphe monument is not free.

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Place Charles-de-Gaulle
75008 Paris

Address

Place Charles-de-Gaulle
75008 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 52′ 26″ N 2° 17′ 42″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.87367 2.29631
Description complète

Square Charles-de-Gaulle, also called Place de l'Étoile, is a traffic circle located in Paris, straddling the 8th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements.

Why "Place de l'Etoile" then "Square Charles-de-Gaulle" (Place Charles-de-Gaulle) ?

By the decree of November 13, 1970, the Place de l'Etoile changes its name to officially become the "Place Charles-de-Gaulle". This decree follows the death of Charles de Gaulle, which occurred on November 9 in his retreat in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.

Twelve avenues intersect at this location and form a star with 12 branches spread over 6 axes:

  1. Avenue Mac-Mahon and diametrically opposed, Avenue d'Iéna ;
  2. Avenue de Wagram et Avenue Kléber axis;
  3. Avenue Hoche et Avenue Victor-Hugo axis;
  4. Avenue de Friedland et Avenue Foch axis;
  5. Avenue des Champs-Élysées et Avenue de la Grande-Armée axis: c'est l'axe historique parisien ;
  6. Avenue Marceau et Avenue Carnot axis.

The names of the avenues that "spring" from the Square Charles-de-Gaulle

Their names are linked to the Napoleonic era.  As for the Square Charles-de-Gaulle, it is world-famous for its spectacular Arc de Triomphe (completed in 1836), whose panoramic view, from its roof terrace, is breathtaking. It is also the starting point for a pleasant stroll on the emblematic avenue of the Champs-Élysées (See our walks from the Arc-de-Triomphe).

The Place de l'Etoile (as well as the Arc de Triomphe ) is shared like a cake between the 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements (districts) of Paris:

  • 8th: area bounded by Avenue de Wagram and Avenue Marceau;
  • 16th: area bounded by avenue Marceau and avenue de la Grande-Armée;
  • 17th: sector bounded by avenue de la Grande-Armée and avenue de Wagram.

The Square Charles-de-Gaulle is also surrounded by two streets forming a circle around it: the rue de Presbourg and the rue de Tilsitt which perpetuate two diplomatic successes of Napoleon and are the names given in 1864 to this circular street.

An underground passage, the Passage du Souvenir, is reserved for pedestrians and connects the center median where the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are located to the sidewalks by 2 entrances: one on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the other on the Avenue de la Grande-Armée.

Dimensions of the Square Charles-de-Gaulle

The square measures 241 meters in diameter, which gives it a surface area of approximately 4.55 hectares.

It is the second-largest square in Paris, behind the Place de la Concorde and Obelisk de Luxor, and its 8.64 hectares

Construction and history

This square was created around 1670 and occupied the top of the old butte-témoin of the northern part of the hill of Chaillot. The 5-meter high mound proposed by the king's building inspector Ange Gabriel was built "so that the path would be of equal slope from the Place king Louis XV (today's Place la Concorde) to the Neuilly Bridge ". These were important works carried out under the direction of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet between 1768 and 1774, who employed all the "poor invalids" of Paris.

The Barrière de Neuilly and the octroi at the top of the Champs Elysées

At the end of the 18th century, it was a country crossroads at the edge of Paris. Two twin pavilions formed the "Barrière de Neuilly" or the "Barrière des Champs-Elysées" or the "Barrière de l'Etoile" (intersection with the streets of Tilsitt and Presbourg) to collect the octroi (the right to enter Paris with goods). They were demolished in 1860. The buildings were located at the junction with the Avenue de Neuilly (de la Grande-Armée today)

Around 1800, the square was in a space where very little was built. At that time, the star of the early 18th century was limited to the intersection of the axis of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées-Avenue de Neuilly (de la Grande-Armée) with that of the boulevards outside the octroi wall. This corresponds today in the south to the route of the streets La Pérouse and Dumont d'Urville extending beyond on the route of the current Avenue Kléber, up to the location of the current Place du Trocadéro.

The construction of the Arc de Triomphe and the hippodrome

The construction of a triumphal arch in the center of the square, begun in 1806 by the order of Napoleon I, was completed in 1836 under the reign of Louis-Philippe I.

For ten years, from 1845 to 1855, Place de l'Étoile was the site of a famous and very large open-air performance venue: the Hippodrome. The visitors of the Arc de Triomphe who make the ascent have a view of the Hippodrome.

Moreover, aerostatic ascents are organized there, the one of September 24, 1852, where the aerostat Giffard rises, an important step in the history of aeronautics.

The racecourse was destroyed to build the northern part of the straight Avenue Kléber, which joined the old boulevard at the level of Rue Copernic.

The private mansions around the Square Charles-de-Gaulle

In 1854, Napoleon III demanded Hittorff, who had just completed the development of the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysées, to change the square by applying Haussmann's ideas. To the five existing star-shaped alleys in the middle of the lawns, seven new branches were added, without commerce but with 12 private mansions with gardens on the square side and entrance from the adjacent streets.

These mansions were built on the space surrounding the Arc de Triomphe and partly taken from an ambulatory of Chaillot. They had to respond to precise construction characteristics. The gardens of these mansions have identical colonnades that face the square. "Situated between the courtyard and the garden, these mansions have two wings framing the courtyard, which opens onto the circular street built at that time (rue de Tilsitt and rue de Presbourg). The Parisians gave them the name "hôtels des Maréchaux" after the name of the surrounding avenues.

Historical dates linked to the Square Charles-de-Gaulle

  • The National Assembly having abolished the rights of entry from May 1st, 1792 (Period of the Revolution of 1789), offered to the Parisians on this occasion a great festival which was concentrated particularly at the barrier of the Champs-Elysées and lasted several days.
  • On June 25, 1792, around 9 o'clock in the evening, the royal family (Louis XVI) entered Paris by the barrier of the Étoile, returning from their escape to Varennes where the family had been arrested on June 21. Varennes-en-Argonne is in Lorraine, about 200 km northeast of Paris. The royal sedan surrounded by two hedges of National Guards and a silent crowd then went down the avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Tuileries Palace.
  • On April 2, 1810, the day after the civil marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and his second wife Marie-Louise in the castle of Saint-Cloud, the procession passed under the Arc de Triomphe. The procession was heading to the Tuileries where the religious wedding was to be celebrated. But the Arc de Triomphe was under construction. It was then covered by a dummy monument with a frame covered with canvas and between the buildings of the barriers sumptuously decorated.
  • On July 29, 1836, the Arc-de-Triomphe whose works had been started in 1806 was solemnly inaugurated by king Louis-Philippe.
  • The return of Napoleon's ashes on December 15, 1840, was a solemn event. The funeral procession arrived from the quay of Courbevoie where the boat carrying Napoleon's remains had docked. The funeral float went up the Avenue de Neuilly to go down the Champs Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, the Quai d'Orsay, before going back up the esplanade des Invalides and arriving at the Church of the Dome des Invalides. (See Napoleon's tomb).
  • On November 11, 1920, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was installed. (Article Arc de Triomphe).
  • On November 11, 1940, students, including Pierre Hervé, demonstrated against the German occupier.
  • In the context of the events of May 68, on May 30, a large demonstration in support of the government gathering nearly a million people went up the avenue des Champs-Élysées to end at the Place de l'Étoile. All the Gaullist leaders participated.
  • By the decree of November 13, 1970, the Place de l'Étoile changed its name to officially become the "Place Charles-de-Gaulle". This order follows the death of Charles de Gaulle, which occurred on November 9 in his retreat in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.

Link this article with the walks starting at the arc de Triomphe/place de l'étoile

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  • July 12, 2024 7:25 am local time

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