Champ de Mars

The Champ de Mars, or The Fields of Mars, is a large public park located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is one of the biggest greenspaces in Paris, and famously known because it is home to the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ iconic emblem and one of the most readily recognizable structures in the world. The Champ des Mars stretches from slightly past the Eiffel Tower at the Seine, down to the L’Ecole Militaire. It has a length of over a mile long, which if anything, creates the perfect in-city park to take a long reflective walk.

The Champ de Mars was not always a public greenspace like it is now. Initially, it was used as a vineyard and as a vegetable garden. Citizens would make use of the available space to grow their produce to sell later in the market. The area was not very fertile, and the fate of the field was deemed to change. And true to this, the change came around in the 18th century after the construction of Ecole Militaire, a colossal school dedicated to advanced military studies. Since the field was right in front of the school, it was seized and used for drills and practice. To facilitate this, it was first levelled and then fenced. Owing to its military used, it was named the field of Mars (after the Roman god of war).

The Champ de Mars was the site of choice for holding the most esteemed celebrations, most notably the celebration marking the storming of the Bastille. It was also used for the Festival of the Supreme Being which had been inspired by the French Revolution but later did out. It was also the scene of choice for the Universal Expositions or World Expo in the 19th century. With the building of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, a redesign of the field was conceived. Most of it was focused on reducing the acreage of the field from its massive 42ha to slightly over 24ha.

The Champ de Mars today stands as a long stretch of greenery with distinct walkways and an inspiring design, marked with neatly grassed lawns and beautifully lined trees and shrubs that make up its boundaries. The field has an open design, in that there are no erected boundaries lining its exteriors besides trees. There is a Monument of Peace on the southeast end created on the turn of the 21st century. The Champ de Mars has retained its original function of providing a venue for celebration, as the fireworks on the national Bastille Day are centred in the field.

The Champ de Mars provide an amazing park to spend time in when you want to escape the traffic and bustle of the surrounding city. It’s not unusual to find Parisians picnicking and enjoying the serenity of the fields. A wonderful view of the gardens can be seen on top of the Eiffel Tower, together with a panoramic view of Paris where the skyline becomes dotted with most notably the Tour Montparnasse.