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Champ de Mars near Eiffel Tower Paris

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The Parc du Champ de Mars, a former military parade ground

The Parc du Champ de Mars is the former parade ground of the Ecole Militaire.

It extends to the Eiffel Tower on the river side.

This large parade ground and the Military Academy were built at the same time.

It was enlarged in 1773, when the island Ile des Cygnes was attached to the bank (the current Quai Branly).

The Parc du Champ de Mars didn't serve exclusively for military parades though.

Indeed, it also served as for the first hot-air balloon flight which took place in 1783.

A few years later, the French revolutionaries turned it into a massive venue for their major celebrations.

Champ de Mars, a venue during the French Revolution

Ideological differences between moderate and extremist revolutionaries, however, quickly replaced the enthusiasm and fellowship of the early months.

This sadly ended in serious clashes and more bloodshed!

Jean Bailly, the mayor of Paris, declared a martial law forbidding citizens to congregate; he also ordered the police to shoot on sight.

As a result, over 50 people were killed during one of these gatherings, Massacre du Champ de Mars, on 17th July 1791.

However, John Bailly paid a heavy price for his decision.

He was indeed guillotined on November 12, 1793 in the park, where the Avenue de la Bourdonnais and Quai Branly today meet!

The Fête de l'Etre Suprême (Culte of the Supreme Being) was the last great revolutionary celebration; it took place in the Champ de Mars on June 8, 1794.

Maximilien Robespierre presided this festival, which marked the apotheosis of the French Revolution.

One of the extremist leaders, he sent hundreds of people to the guillotine.

However, the moderate party deposed him 2 months later and sent him to the guillotine on July 28, 1794!

A huge expiatory gathering, La Fête de la Concorde, took place on the Champ de Mars during the Second Republic, on May 21, 1848.

Champ de Mars, a venue for the Universal Exhibitions

The Parc du Champ de Mars was the venue for the Universal Exhibition of 1889.

From 1887 to 1889 the world witnessed the edification of  one of the most famous monuments in the world and most visited monument in Paris, the Eiffel Tower!

Many other Universal and Colonial Exhibitions followed.

The 25-hectare public park was landscaped in 1920 with lawn, shrubbery, trees and flower beds.

Play areas for children and music kiosks were built.

It is one of the most pleasant public parks in Paris.

Relax on one of the many benches, stroll along the shaded alleys or stop for a café crème at one of the kiosks, enjoy this beautiful park!

The city of Paris regularly organizes cultural activities.

These include concerts and official celebrations, such the 50th anniversary of UNESCO in 1995.

On July 14, 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy presided over the Concert de la Fraternité which attracted over 600,000 spectators.

Looking for the Mur de la Paix - Wall of Peace? You'll find it on the south end of the park, by the Ecole Militaire.

Directions: 7th District
Metro: Bir Hakeim on Line 6 and Champ de Mars Eiffel Tower on RER C
Coordinates: Lat 48.857290 - Long 2.296178

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