Boulevards of the Marshals

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The Boulevards of the Marshals (French: Boulevards des Maréchaux) are a collection of thoroughfares that encircle the city of Paris, France near its outermost margins. Most bear the name of a marshal of the First Empire (1804–1814) who served under Napoleon I.

Exceptions[edit]

Only Étienne Eustache Bruix (1759–1805), a French admiral; Jean Simon (1912–2003), a distinguished general of the French Foreign Legion; and Martial Henri Valin (1898–1980), an air force general, were not marshals of the First Empire. Nonetheless, they have boulevards named for them that are parts of the 'belt'.

There are seven legitimate marshals of the First-Empire period who have not been immortalized by having their names attached to boulevards comprising the ring. Most of these men were relieved of the honor, Marshal of the Empire, by having disputes with Napoleon or by changing sides during the periods when Napoleon was in exile, during the Hundred Days, or during the Bourbon Restoration. Bernadotte left Napoleon's service to become the elected King of Sweden, where he reigned as Charles XIV John. The 'missing' marshals are:

Bernadotte, the "man who would be king" (of Sweden)

Of the seven marshals without a boulevard, only three of them (Bernadotte, Marmont, and Grouchy) have no street at all named after them in Paris. Augereau, Moncey, Oudinot, and Perignon have streets named for them: Rue Augereau in the 7th arrondissement, Rue Moncey in the 9th, Rue Oudinot in the 7th, and the Rue Pérignon, which traverses the 7th and 15th arrondissements. The other three marshals are considered "traitors to France" so they are not honored by the city.

There is a slight discontinuity in the loop around the city near the Garigliano Bridge: between the Boulevard du General Martial Valin, in the 15th arrondissement, and Boulevard Murat in the 16th. On the right-bank side of the Garigliano Bridge (16th arrondissement), one may take the Quai Saint-Exupéry a little more than a hundred meters to meet the Boulevard Exelmans, which leads to Boulevard Murat, or, if one chooses to continue on Exelmans, one will meet the Boulevard Suchet near the Porte d'Auteuil. Technically, the Boulevard Exelmans is not part of the Boulevards of the Marshals; he, Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans, was aide-de-camp to Marshal Murat during the First-Empire period, but he became a marshal in his own right during the Second Empire (1851).

In the 19th arrondissement, the Boulevard of Indochina and the Boulevard of Algeria follow the contour of Paris more closely than the Boulevards of the Marshals by avoiding a portion of the Boulevard Sérurier.

History[edit]

The boulevards of the marshals occupy the site of the old military road (or Rue Militaire) that ran along the inside of the fortified walls of Thiers, built around 1840. The expansion of the land area of Paris in 1860, by annexing bordering communities, created a situation where everything within the wall was Paris and everything without was not. The large berm immediately outside the wall and its dry moat led to a profound disruption and complication of the synergistic relationship between Paris and its suburbs.

In the 1920s, the dismantling of the enclosure permitted the building of a series of boulevards encircling the city, in the same way that the destruction of the wall of Louis XIII had eventually given birth, at the end of the 17th century, to the great boulevards of the right bank. This also served to re-integrate, to a large extent, Paris with its hinterland.

The boulevards of the marshals concept was almost fully realized by 1932, but the section known as Boulevard Amiral Bruix (an admiral of the Napoleonic era), was not incorporated until 1987. The Boulevard du General Martial Valin, a general of the Free French air corps, and the Boulevard du General Jean Simon, another officer of the Free French and a hero of the liberation of Paris, were not added to the circle until 2005.

List of boulevards[edit]

Map of Paris showing its arrondissements

Below is a list of the boulevards in Paris named after marshals of France. The list starts at the Porte de Vincennes and continues in ascending numerical order of arrondissements, from the 12th to the 20th; in effect, around Paris in clockwise fashion, beginning from the 3:00 position. Also noted are the connections to the Paris Métro, the Réseau Express Régional (RER), the Paris Tramway Line 3, the city gates of Paris, and the main roads leaving the capital for adjacent communes.

Legend:

Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 1 : métro station, line 1.
RERRER B : RER station, line B.
Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 : tramway stop, line 3.
Arrondissement Boulevard Porte Trunk roads Border communes
 
12th Boulevard Soult Porte de Vincennes – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 1 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 34 Saint-Mandé
Porte de Saint-Mandé
Porte de Montempoivre
Porte Dorée – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 8
Boulevard Poniatowski Bois de Vincennes
Porte de Reuilly
Porte de Charenton – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 8 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 6
Charenton-le-Pont
Porte de Bercy Arrow green2 en.svgA4 autoroute
Seine Pont National
13th Boulevard du Général-Jean-Simon Porte de la Gare   Ivry-sur-Seine
Porte de Vitry
Boulevard Masséna
Porte d'Ivry – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 7 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Porte de Choisy – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 7 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 305
Porte d'Italie – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 7 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 7 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre
Boulevard Kellermann Arrow green2 en.svgA6b
 
Poterne des Peupliers – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Gentilly
Porte de Gentilly – RERRER B – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3  
14th Boulevard Jourdan
Arrow green2 en.svgA6a
Porte d'Arcueil – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
 
Montrouge
Porte d'Orléans – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 4 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 20
Boulevard Brune
Porte de Montrouge
Porte de Châtillon – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Malakoff
Porte Didot – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Porte de Vanves – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 13 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
15th Boulevard Lefebvre Porte Brancion – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Vanves
Porte de Plaisance et Porte de la Plaine – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Porte de Versailles – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 12 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3 Issy-les-Moulineaux
Boulevard Victor
Porte d'Issy-les-Moulineaux – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Porte de Sèvres – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 8 – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Boulevard du Général-Martial-Valin
RERRER C – Tramways in Île-de-FranceÎle-de-France tramway Line 3
Seine Pont du Garigliano
16th Bois de Boulogne Porte de Boulogne   Boulogne-Billancourt
Porte de l'Hippodrome
Porte de la Seine
Porte de Madrid
Porte Saint-James
Porte de Neuilly
Porte des Sablons
Boulevard Murat Porte du Point-du-Jour Boulogne-Billancourt
Porte de Saint-Cloud – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 9 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 10
 
Porte Molitor – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 10  
Bois de Boulogne
Porte d'Auteuil – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 10 Arrow green2 en.svgA13 autoroute
Boulevard Suchet
Porte de Passy  
Porte de la Muette
Boulevard Lannes
Porte Dauphine – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 2 – RERRER C
Boulevard de l'Amiral-Bruix
Porte Maillot – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 1 – RERRER C Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 13
17th Boulevard Gouvion-Saint-Cyr Neuilly-sur-Seine
Porte des Ternes  
Porte de Villiers
Levallois-Perret
Porte de Champerret – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 3 – RERRER C
Boulevard Berthier
Porte de Courcelles
Porte d'Asnières
Porte de Clichy – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 13 – RERRER C Clichy
Boulevard Bessières
Porte Pouchet Saint-Ouen – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 13
Porte de Saint-Ouen
18th Boulevard Ney
Porte Montmartre
Porte de Clignancourt – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 4 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 14
Porte des Poissonniers
Saint-Denis
Porte de la Chapelle – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 12 Arrow green2 en.svgRoute nationale 1 et A1 autoroute
Porte d'Aubervilliers Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 301 Aubervilliers
19th Boulevard Macdonald
Canal Saint-Denis
Porte de la Villette – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 7 Arrow green2 en.svgRoute nationale 2  
Pantin
Canal de l'Ourcq
Boulevard Sérurier
Porte de Pantin – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 5 Arrow green2 en.svgRoute nationale 3  
  Le Pré-Saint-Gervais
Porte Chaumont
Porte Brunet
 
Porte du Pré-Saint-Gervais – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 7bis
Porte des Lilas – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 11
20th Boulevard Mortier Les Lilas
Porte de Ménilmontant Bagnolet
Porte de Bagnolet – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 3 Arrow green2 en.svgA3 autoroute
Boulevard Davout
Porte de Montreuil – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 9 Arrow green2 en.svgroute nationale 302 Montreuil
Porte de Vincennes – Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 1
Saint-Mandé

Transportation[edit]

The boulevards are, of course, city streets and open to vehicular traffic. They do not constitute an expressway or limited-access motorway in the fashion of the Boulevard Périphérique; the speed limit on the boulevards is generally 50 km/h.

There are also bus lanes separated from the normal lanes of traffic, and a bicycle path on the sidewalk has been installed. The Paris Tramway Line 3 (Ile-de-France) follows the boulevards of the marshals along the southern edge of the city.

Places of interest[edit]

Some specific sites near the boulevards are:

Marshal Soult, who, later in life, became prime minister of France

See also[edit]