Place Charles de Gaulle
The Place Charles de Gaulle, pronounced: [plas ʃaʁl də ɡol], historically known as the Place de l'Étoile (pronounced: [plas də letwal]), is a large road junction in Paris, France, the meeting point of twelve straight avenues (hence its historic name, which translates as "Square of the Star") including the Champs-Élysées. It was renamed in 1970 following the death of General and President Charles de Gaulle. It is still often referred to by its original name, and the nearby metro station retains the designation Charles de Gaulle - Étoile.
The original name of the area was the Butte Chaillot ("Chaillot mound", named after the locality). At the time it was the point of convergence of several hunting trails. The Marquis de Marigny constructed monumental roadworks, completed in 1777, on the mound when he was establishing the plantations along the Champs Élysées. This work included paving of the road in the form of a star, as it still exists today. The junction became known as the Place de l'Étoile. There is no pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe from any of the twelve avenues as there is constant movement of automobile traffic on and around the road junction, but an underpass is accessible to the Arc de Triomphe.
In 1787, during the construction of the Wall of the Farmers-General (Mur des Fermiers généraux), la Barrière de l'Étoile (also known as the Barrière de Neuilly) was built to the design of Claude Nicolas Ledoux for the collection of the octroi tax at the entrance to Paris. The wall and the two buildings built on either side of the Place de l'Étoile were demolished in the nineteenth century.
The twelve avenues, clockwise from the north, are the following:
- Avenue de Wagram, thus called since the Second French Empire, and boulevard de l'Étoile or boulevard Bezons before
- Avenue Hoche: avenue de la Reine-Hortense during the Second Empire and boulevard Monceau before
- Avenue de Friedland since the Second Empire and boulevard Beaujon before
- Avenue des Champs-Élysées
- Avenue Marceau: avenue Joséphine during the Second Empire
- Avenue d'Iéna
- Avenue Kléber: avenue du Roi-de-Rome during the Second Empire and boulevard de Passy before
- Avenue Victor Hugo: avenue d'Eylau during the Second Empire and avenue de Saint-Cloud before
- Avenue Foch: avenue du Bois (de Boulogne) during the Third Republic and avenue de l'Impératrice during the Second Empire
- Avenue de la Grande-Armée during the Second Empire and avenue de Neuilly before
- Avenue Carnot: avenue d'Essling during the Second Empire
- Avenue Mac-Mahon: avenue du Prince-Jérôme during the Second Empire
The place is symmetrical and thus has six axes:
- Axis avenue Mac-Mahon and avenue d'Iéna
- Axis avenue de Wagram and avenue Kléber
- Axis avenue Hoche and avenue Victor-Hugo
- Axis avenue de Friedland and avenue Foch
- Axis avenue des Champs-Élysées and avenue de la Grande-Armée: which is the axe historique of Paris
- Axis avenue Marceau and avenue Carnot
- VIIIe: area between avenue de Wagram and avenue Marceau
- XVIe: area between avenue Marceau and avenue de la Grande-Armée
- XVIIe: area between avenue de la Grande Armée and avenue de Wagram
The square is surrounded by two streets forming a circle around it: the rue de Presbourg and the rue de Tilsitt which have been so named since 1864, after diplomatic successes of Napoleon I which led to the signing of the Treaty of Presbourg in 1805 and the Treaties of Tilsit in 1807.
La Place de l'étoile is the title of a novel by French writer Patrick Modiano.
|Located near the metro station: Charles de Gaulle - Étoile.|
Motor Insurance Myth
There is an urban myth that motor insurance companies will not cover driving around the Étoile, which is not strictly true. Insurance companies generally cover motor accidents only on the Étoile under a knock-for-knock agreement, whereby each insurance company will pay for losses by its own policyholder, provided that the other party's insurance company agrees to do the same for the other policyholder.
- de Moncan, Patrice, Le Paris de Haussmann, Les Editions du Mecene, 2012 (ISBN:978-2-9079-70983)
- Circling in on the Arc de Triomphe, Dallas Morning News, 26 Jan 2007
Media related to Place Charles-de-Gaulle (Paris) at Wikimedia Commons