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The whole history of the Champ-de-Mars

Located in the nerve center of Paris, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower , the Champ-de-Mars is today a huge place where we like to meet to stroll, picnic, or admire the New Year fireworks. year. But it was not always this peaceful green space, and the Hôtel du Cadran takes you to discover the history of the Champ-de-Mars .

Champ-de-Mars: the origins of this name

Champ-de-Mars is not a name specific to the site in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. This term, from Roman mythology, previously designated spaces dedicated to military parades and maneuvers . The garrison towns thus almost all had their Champ-de-Mars, as is the case with Paris. These vast spaces thus bore a name which referred to the god of war , Mars.

Today, certain municipalities have preserved their Champ-de-Mars, and in particular that of the capital, whose military history has marked the history of France.

The history of the Champ-de-Mars in Paris

Before becoming the vast garden we know today, the Champ-de-Mars had several lives. From the 16th century, it was first an immense esplanade, on which there were vegetable gardens and vineyards . Then its usefulness changed over time, becoming a major site in the capital.

A space dedicated to military training

From the 18th century, the large expanse, near which the Eiffel Tower did not yet stand, was a maneuvering field intended for military training. This is where the place gets its name from. The extent was such that more than 10,000 men could be placed there in battle order. At the time, the esplanade was closed to the public thanks to huge wrought iron gates.

A historic gathering place

Beginning with the French Revolution, the country’s leaders took advantage of the magnificence of the place to make it a gathering site for the most important events in history. In particular, the storming of the Bastille is celebrated there every July 14 since 1790.

A horse racing site

During the Belle Époque, horse races were also regularly organized on the Champ-de-Mars. Very popular, these events attracted a lot of people, and the horse racing tradition of the place remains important today. We also celebrated the jubilee of the horse Jappeloup in 1991, when the 25 best riders in the world came together to perform an incredible show jump.

The headquarters of many universal exhibitions

In the 19th century, the Champ-de-Mars also became a privileged place to host universal exhibitions , which were until then organized in the Trocadéro gardens. We think, of course, of the Universal Exhibition of 1889, which saw the birth of the Eiffel Tower. It was also on this date that the army ceded the Champ-de-Mars to the City of Paris, and that its transformation into an immense green park took place.

The Champ-de-Mars today

With a very rich historical past, the Champ-de-Mars retains a special place for certain events. We celebrate the transition to the new year, and we like to meet there for major events, such as the victory of the Blues during the Football World Cup in 1998, then in 2018 . It is also and above all a space where life is good and where everyone likes to walk, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

A vast green space in the heart of Paris

Today, the Champ-de-Mars is one of the largest green spaces in Paris , with an area of 24.5 hectares. Located in the 7th arrondissement, it is even the only open public garden to remain open day and night.

Although it has long served as a training ground for the military, it is today a very large park where it is very pleasant to walk. With a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Towerand on the Military School, it is a place particularly popular with tourists, who like to take photos of the Iron Lady .

Inspired by both French and English gardens, the Champ-de-Mars park is covered with vast lawns, winding paths and magnificent bronze statues. It is thus one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris, and a garden classified as a UNESCO world heritage site . We discover rare trees there, which always attract birds that are usually found only in the great French forests, far from the hustle and bustle of Paris. The famous bird of the Champ-de-Mars is also a tawny owl, which we hear at night, but which we never see during the day.

Useful information

The Champ-de-Mars park is the only Parisian public garden that is not enclosed . Access is therefore free, day and night. Events are regularly organized there, such as concerts, political rallies or sporting events. In 2024, the Champ-de-Mars will also be the site of many events of the Paris Games , thanks to the Eiffel Tower stadium and the Champ-de-Mars Arena which it will host.

The Champ-de-Mars has always been a major gathering place in Paris. In 2024, it will continue to bring people together in good spirits, during the Olympics at the Eiffel Tower stadium and at the Champ-de-Mars Arena.

To enjoy the wonders of the Champs de Mars, book your hotel room at Le Cadran

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