General Valhubert Square (La Place Valhubert) in Paris


General J. M. Valhubert Square (La Place Valhubert) is located at the junction of the 5th and 13th districts of Paris opposite the Pont Austerlitz on the left bank of the Seine.

As evidenced by the old city plans of Paris, compiled by the cartographers Russel, Turgot and Felibien, this place was already in the 18th century. there was an area without a name. She got her own name according to the nominal decree of Napoleon I of February 14, 1806.

On this day, the emperor ordered to name the previously unnamed square in honor of the French army general Jean-Marie Walhuber (1764-1805), who died during the battle of Austerlitz. Badly wounded, he did not leave the battlefield, although this decision cost him his life.

In 1806, according to urban planning plans, it was planned to erect a monument to the general on the square. The work on its creation was entrusted to the sculptor P. Cartier. The creative process took several years, and by the time the work on the 4 m high white marble sculpture was completed, the political situation in the country had changed dramatically.

King Charles X, who returned to the French throne, did not allow the erection of a monument in memory of the military leader Napoleon on the capital square. However, the sculpture was not destroyed: the work of art was sent to the homeland of the general in the Norman town of Avranches.

The modern square of Walhuber is a circle with a radius of about 90 m. The embankments of Saint Bernard, Austerlitz, the Rive Gauche highway and the boulevard de la Epital go to the transport hub located on the banks of the Seine. The mouth of a small tributary of the Seine, the Bivre River, is hidden under the pavement square.

Museums and Sites

Along the perimeter of the square, there are several wonderful Parisian sights that attract a lot of tourists to it. Valhuber Square is one of the main entrances to the huge National Museum of Natural History, which is visited by about 2 million tourists annually. The closest to it is the building of the Paleontological Gallery, built in 1893-1898 by the architect Charles Duterte.

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From the western and southern sides of the Walhuber Square begins the territory of the extensive Plant Garden with greenhouses and a zoo. Founded in the 16th century. The botanical garden has now become one of the most important centers for scientific research and popularization of biological knowledge.

At the entrance to the Garden of Plants from the side of the square, in 1909, a monument was erected to the outstanding naturalist of the 18th century. J. B. Lamarck, who did a lot for the development of science and the Museum of Natural History.

The author of the bronze statue is the sculptor Leon Fagel. He depicted the scientist sitting in a professorial robe in a pensive pose on an imposing chair. The plinth for the monument of complex configuration and stucco decoration was designed by the architect Victor Blazette.

On the front side of the pedestal, as a reminder that J. Lamarck 7 years before Charles Darwin expressed a similar point of view on the origin of species, a laconic inscription "To the founder of evolutionary doctrine" is carved. And the surface of the sides lists the main works of the scientist on hydrogeology, meteorology, botany and biology of invertebrates.

On the opposite side of the pedestal there is a bronze bas-relief by L. Fagel depicting a seated Zh-B. Lamarck and the scientist's daughter Cornelia standing in front of him. The bas-relief is accompanied by the words from the daughter's speech at the funeral: "The descendants will admire you, they will avenge you, father!" With this phrase, Cornelia wanted to say that time will confirm the scientist's rightness and refute the authors of offensive comments to his scientific works.

Getting there

Address: La Place Valhubert, Paris 75005
Metro: Gare d'Austerlitz
RER Train: Gare d'Austerlitz
Bus: Jardin des Plantes, Gare d'Austerlitz