One of the most extensive open spaces in Paris, the esplanade of the Invalides House (L'esplanade des Invalides) is located between the northern facade of this architectural monument and the river Seine. On the east and west sides, it is adjacent to the Air France office building and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This neatly trimmed lawn with several rows of trees covers an area of 32,8 thousand m2 and is 250 m long with a width of 490 m.
Moments of history
Originally on this site in the 18th century. there was a famous place for duels - the Pré-aux-Clercs meadow. In 1704, according to the plans of the architect Robert de Cotte, its territory was partially transformed into a large rectangular square covered with grass. It was assumed that the fruits of the fruit trees planted here could be used by the permanent residents of the House for the Invalids.
The first years of the esplanade of the disabled had a more modest size - its northern border ran along Universitetskaya Street. In 1720 it was expanded to the Orsay Quay. By 1738, the esplanade consisted of the western (Saint-Dominique au Gros-Caillou) and eastern (Saint-Dominique-Saint-Germain) parts, separated by the rue Saint-Dominique and the Invalides (now M. Galeni avenue).
In 1804-1840, the center of the esplanade was decorated with a fountain for the disabled. Its project was carried out by architects C. Persier and P. Fontaine. In the middle of a round bowl 15 m in diameter, there was a rectangular pedestal with a height of 4 m, decorated with 4 bronze masks made by A-D. Shade. On its top was the figure of the winged lion of St. A stamp delivered to Paris from Venice in 1797.
At the end of the 19th century Pont Alexandre III connected the esplanade of Les Invalides with the opposite bank of the Seine, thus opening the shortest route to the Petit and Grand Palaces and a convenient passage to the Champs Elysees.
In the center of events
Several significant historical events are associated with the esplanade of the disabled. In August 1793, on the eve of the celebrations of the triumph of the revolutionary party of the Mountain over the Girondins, an allegorical statue by David was installed on it. The sculpture of Hercules sculpted by him symbolized the French people defeating the Hydra associated with the Girondins.
In December 1840, the solemn part of the ceremony of returning the ashes of Napoleon 1 to France was held on the esplanade. A temporary terrace was built for guests and participants in the event, which could accommodate 36 thousand people. Before the celebrations, 32 statues of prominent politicians and military leaders were installed along the avenue.
Several times in its history, the Esplanade of Les Invalides has been used as an exhibition area. First, in 1806, it hosted the Industrial Exhibition, and almost a hundred years later, in 1900, during the World Exhibition, several temporary pavilions were built on the esplanade.
During leisure hours
Paris in the early 21st century. the esplanade of the Les Invalides has become one of the popular places for entertainment, walking and relaxing in the shade of trees. Despite its position in the historical part of the city, in several specially prepared areas, you can sit on the grass during a picnic.
On weekends, the esplanade lawn becomes a makeshift football field. Inline skating grounds have been created along its northern edge, and several benches have been installed under the canopy of trees on the east and west sides. This part of the esplanade is preferred by fans of traditional French ball and petanque games.
Address: 1 Rue Fabert, Paris 75007
RER Train: Invalides