The Attractions and History of the Champ de Mars: The Park Between the Eiffel Tower and École Militaire in Paris

No visit to Paris is complete without touring the Eiffel Tower. But the Champ de Mars, stretching from the tower to the École Militaire, is interesting in its own right. Its history is richer than you’d think. Learn all about the park and its attractions!

champ de mars

What Is the Champ de Mars?

The Champ de Mars is a large public park located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The park is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It’s best known for its association with the nearby Eiffel Tower, which sits at its northern end.

Covering 60 acres, the Champ de Mars is one of the largest parks in Paris. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. In the summer, the park is filled with picnickers and people enjoying the sun.

The History of the Champ de Mars in Paris

The Champ de Mars has a long and varied history. It started out as part of Grenelle, which was an area reserved for market gardening. In 1765, the École Militaire was built, and an esplanade was created in front of it. This esplanade became the Champ de Mars.

In 1783, Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers launched the first hot air balloon from the park. During the French Revolution, the Champ de Mars was the site of several large-scale public events, including the Fête de la Fédération (Festival of the Federation) in 1790 and the Festival of the Supreme Being in 1794.

One of the bloodiest episodes in its history – the Champ de Mars massacre – took place on July 17, 1791. On that day, a group of republican protesters were massacred by the National Guard.

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The Champ de Mai ceremony was also held in the park by Napoleon, who had recently returned from exile. During the assembly, he swore to uphold the Charter of 1815.

These are just a few of the events that have taken place in the Champ de Mars throughout the years. It’s truly a park with a long and storied past.

Attractions on the Grounds of the Parc du Champ-de-Mars

There’s more to see and do in the Champ de Mars than just snap a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower. While you’re there, you can picnic or admire the following sites:

  • The Bassins du Champ de Mars. These are two large reflecting pools that were built in 1864. They’re a popular spot for couples to take a romantic stroll.
  • The Monument des Droits de l’Homme (Monument of Human Rights). It was erected in 1989, which was the bicentennial of the French Revolution.
  • Grand Palais Éphémère. This is a large wooden structure that was built in 2013. It’s used for a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and festivals.
  • The École Militaire. This is one of the most prestigious military schools in France. It was founded by Louis XV in 1750.

If you’re visiting with children, they’ll love the on-site playgrounds. And don’t forget the Marionnettes du Champ de Mars Paris (Champ de Mars Puppet Theater)!

The Champ de Mars is truly a park for all seasons. Be sure to add it to your list of must-see attractions when you’re in Paris.

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