The 7th district is the most visited area in Paris.
It covers the vast sandy Plaine de Grenelle that stretched to the west of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey and was known as Garanella, a Low Latin word meaning small warren.
This area remained deserted for centuries except for a château and farm that belonged to Sainte-Geneviève Abbey and were pulled down for the construction of the Invalides and Ecole Militaire and the landscaping of the Champ-de-Mars.
The Champ de Mars is the former parade ground of the Ecole Militaire (Military Academy) that was built in the 1750's.
The Champ de Mars is now a vast park that extends from the Eiffel Tower on the river side to the Ecole Militaire in the south.
This large parade ground was created at the same time as the Military Academy, and was enlarged in 1773 by linking the western side of the Ile des Cygnes (island) to the bank (the current Quai Branly).
The French revolutionaries turned it into a massive rallying point for all their great celebrations.
The enthusiasm and fellowship of the early months, however, were quickly replaced by ideological differences between moderate and extremist revolutionaries that ended in serious clashes and bloodshed.
Jean Bailly, the mayor of Paris, declared martial law forbidding citizens to congregate, and ordered the police to shoot on sight.
Over fifty people were killed during this episode known as the Massacre of the Champ de Mars on 17th July 1791.
John Bailly paid a heavy price for his decision and was guillotined on November 12th 1793 at the corner of Avenue de la Bourdonnais and Quai Branly.
The last great revolutionary celebration held on the Champ de Mars was the Fête de l'Etre Suprême (Feast of the Supreme Being) on 8th June 1794.
Maximilien Robespierre one of the extremist leaders , sent hundreds of people to the guillotine.
He was, however, deposed by the moderate party two months after the Fête de l'Etre Suprême... and was guillotined himself on July 28th 1794.
These tragic revolutionary years were exorcised with the Fête de la Concorde organized on the Champ de Mars 21st May 1848 under the Second Republic.
The military and political character of the Champ de Mars disappeared at the end of the 19th century when it was chosen to accommodate the Universal Exhibition of 1889.
From 1887 to 1889 the world witnessed the edification of one of the most famous monuments of the world, one of the iconic emblems of Paris, the Eiffel Tower.
Followed by other Universal and Colonial Exhibitions ...
The Champ de Mars had found a mission of peace ...
The 25 hectares of the Champ de Mars were landscaped in 1920 with lawn, shrubbery, flower beds, play areas for children and kiosks that turn it into one of the most pleasant parks in Paris.
The city of Paris organized many cultural activities such as concerts and official celebrations such the fiftieth anniversary of UNESCO in 1995.
On 14th July 2007, the then President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy presided over the Concert de la Fraternité (brotherhood) that attracted over 600,000 spectators.
The Mur de la Paix (Wall of Peace) is one of those many interesting pieces of modern art that are scattered through Paris.
It consists of twelve glass panels where the word PEACE is written in 32 languages and 13 alphabets.
The monument was built in 2000 on the southern part of the Champ de Mars, in front of the Ecole Militaire, to symbolize the passage into the third millennium and was directly inspired by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
The choice of this location has a high symbolic value in our French culture.
Each village used to have a Champ de Mars, a large field dedicated to the Roman God of War and used for military exercises as well as local fairs and festivals.
This custom that goes back to the pagan era could not be eradicated by the Church of Rome and the name remained.
It then seemed obvious to build the Mur de la Paix on the Champ de Mars...
A very popular attraction with many tourists and among fans of Modern Art, we often forget that it raised an outcry from local residents who consider it as an artistic work of poor quality and circulate petitions to demand its demolition. The polemic is still active...
According to them, this monument which should have been demolished long ago, disfigures the listed gardens which unfold between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire.
Built to last only a few weeks, it has light foundations and must be regularly repaired. It was recently damaged by fire, and the question of safety now arises.
The creators of the monument, Marek and Clara Halter and the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, oppose the dismantling and relocation of their Wall of Peace ... and have engaged in a legal battle against those who seek its demolition ...
You can leave your personal message of peace by sliding it in the slots provided for this purpose.
The web addicts can simply post their message on the site of the Mur pour la Paix (Official Site) and see it displayed on the monument.
A very nice way of sharing Peace... but is the Wall of Peace becoming the Wall of War?
Metro station Ecole Militaire
Welcome to the Hexagone as we French people like to call Metropolitan France...
France, a population of nearly 60 million, surrounded by six countries, three seas and divided in twenty-two regions...
France, a country of contrasting landscapes and climates, a unique architecture, a Cuisine praised and renowned around the world...
France, a country with a unique lifestyle and way of being... the French touch...
Paris its capital and first world tourist destination...
We are a French British team dedicated to bring you a collection of travel notes and photos delivering a French insight on Paris and other regions of France, famous or less famous, their traditions, their history and sometimes legends; Explore with us, we are constantly visiting new places; they are just a click away!