Place de l'Étoile

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The Place Charles de Gaulle, historically known as the Place de l'Étoile, 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 which continues to the east. 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.

Paris Axe historique ("historical axis") cuts through the Arc de Triomphe, which stands at the centre of the Place de l'Étoile.

Contents

History

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 Place de l'Étoile and the avenues leading to it were extensively redesigned as part of Baron Haussmann's urban planning projects.

Description

The twelve avenues, clockwise from the north, are the following:

The place is symmetrical and thus has six axes:

The Place de l'Étoile (as well as the Arc de Triomphe) is split between the VIIIe, XVIe and the XVIIe arrondissements of Paris:

  • 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

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