Place Denfert-Rochereau in Paris


Place Denfert-Rochereau (Place Denfert-Rochereau) appeared on the outer side of the Farmers' Wall in 1789. At the end of the 18th century here was one of the Parisian customs, whose employees levied taxes on goods delivered by road from Montrouge.

For about a century it was known to the townspeople under a not quite euphonious and even frightening name as Place d'Enfer, since for a long time there was one of the entrances to the famous Parisian catacombs. The situation changed after the end of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, which France had lost.

Wishing to overcome the bitterness of defeat and increase the morale of compatriots, the city authorities decided to rename it. As a result of heated discussion in 1878, she was named after the hero of the battle at Belfort, Colonel Pierre Danfer-Rochereau.

Square Attractions

Two pavilions of the former customs outpost remind about the former significance of the area for the city's economy. These two identical neoclassical buildings were designed by the architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux in 1784-1787.

The first floors of the buildings are decorated with arches in the Romanesque style, under which are the windows and doors of the main entrance. A figured frieze runs along the facade of each building under the roof canopy. It consists of relief images of dancers sculpted by the sculptor Jean Guillaume Mott.

Customs offices were housed in buildings until 1850. After its abolition, the pavilions were empty for a long time, but now the western pavilion is occupied by the Department of Roads and Transport, and opposite it, next to the second building, is the entrance to the Catacombs of Paris Museum.

There is another interesting tourist attraction not far from it - library-museum Marmottan... It opened in 1934, and the collection and exhibition dedicated to the era of the First Empire were based on the personal collections of Jules and Paul Marmottan.

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In the center of the Place Danfer-Rochereau, on an imposing pedestal, is the figure of the Lion of Belfort. This three times smaller copy of the Belfort monument was created by the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi in 1880. The bronze lion symbolizes the courage of the commander of the defenders of the Belfort fortress, Pierre Danfer-Rochereau.

Near the square is located the oldest functioning Parisian railway station - Danfert-Rochereau station. It was built in 1842-1846 by architect Alexis Doulon and is now included in the register of architectural monuments of the 19th century.

The station building consists of two pavilions built in an arc, adjacent to the central part with arched windows. Above the main entrance, on the sides of the clock, two allegorical figures are symmetrically located, symbolizing the railway.

Squares and monuments

In a relatively small space around the Danfer-Rochero square, there are three squares at once. The first one is named after the French priest and theologian Abbot Jean-Paul Minh. It is located opposite the old train station behind the eastern pavilion of the former customs.

In 1897, a monument to the battle painter Nicholas Toussaint-Charles was erected there. The sculptor Alexander Sherpentier originally made the statue in stone, but 10 years later, due to damage, it had to be replaced with a bronze figure. During the Second World War, the statue was destroyed by the invaders, so today you can only see the pedestal and the bronze medallion fixed on it.

The second triangular square is named after the architect Jacques-Denis Antoine. In 1889, a monument to the doctor, chemist and politician François Vincent Raspay was erected among chestnuts and elms. The bronze statue was melted down by the German authorities in the 1940s and now only the pedestal with bronze bas-reliefs by the sculptor Leopold Maurice reminds of it. On one of them F. Raspail is depicted as a politician, and on the second as a doctor.

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The square by architect Claude Nicholas Ledoux is laid out in the English style with flower beds, hazel and fruit trees. Its winding paths lead to the monument to the politician Louis Trarier, partially destroyed during the last world war, the composition for which was made in 1907 by the sculptor Jean Boucher and the architect V. Lesage.

Getting there

Address: Place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris 75014
Metro: Denfert-Rochereau
RER Train: Denfert-Rochereau
Bus: Denfert-Rochereau, Denfert-Rochereau - Arago