Boulevards of the Marshals
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.
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:
- Pierre Augereau,
- Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte,
- Emmanuel de Grouchy,
- Auguste de Marmont,
- Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey,
- Nicolas Oudinot, and
- Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon.
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.
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
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.
|: métro station, line 1.|
|: RER station, line B.|
|: tramway stop, line 3.|
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
Some specific sites near the boulevards are:
- Bois de Boulogne
- Bois de Vincennes and the Throne carnival
- Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
- City of Science and Industry
- Heliport de Paris - Issy-les-Moulineaux
- Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou
- Robert Debré Pediatric Hospital
- Marmottan Museum
- Palais des Sports de Paris
- Parc André Citroën
- Parc de la Butte du Chapeau-Rouge
- The Fairgrounds at the Versailles gate
- Parc Georges Brassens
- Parc Kellermann
- Parc Montsouris
- Parc des Princes
- Stade Charlety
- Ring road
- City gates of Paris
- Louis Alexandre Berthier
- Jean-Baptiste Bessières
- Guillaume Marie Anne Brune
- Louis-Nicolas Davout
- Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr
- Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
- François Christophe de Kellermann
- Jean Lannes
- François Joseph Lefebvre
- Jacques MacDonald
- André Masséna
- Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier
- Joachim Murat
- Michel Ney
- Józef Antoni Poniatowski
- Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier
- Jean-de-Dieu Soult
- Louis Gabriel Suchet
- Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno