Place Charles de Gaulle

Place Charles de Gaulle
Length 240 m (790 ft)
Width 240 m (790 ft)
Arrondissement 8th, 16th, 17th
Quarter Champs Elysées, Faubourg du Roule, Chaillot, Ternes.
Completion 1670
Denomination 13 November 1970
Even at night, the Place de l'Étoile is busy with cars swirling around its multiple lanes.
View of Place Charles de Gaulle from the middle of Champs-Élysées
Traffic 10-abreast traverses the Place de l'Étoile, seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Place Charles de Gaulle
The twelve avenues radiating from the Place de l'Étoile, seen from an airliner at 35,000 feet (11,000 m). For orientation, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the road leading to the formal park area at upper right.

The Place Charles de Gaulle, historically known as the Place de l'Étoile (pronounced: [plas də letwal]), 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. 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.


The Barrière de l'Étoile in the early 19th century; the buildings were demolished after 1859

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. Pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe itself is via pedestrian underpass, to avoid the confluence of vehicular traffic from the juncture of twelve radiating twelve avenues.

A colourised aerial view from the south published in 1921

In 1787, during the construction of the Farmers-General Wall (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 modern Place de l'Étoile and the avenues radiating from it were created during the Second Empire of Napoleon III as part of Haussmann's renovation of Paris.[1]


The Place Charles-de-Gaulle, Paris, France

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

  1. Avenue de Wagram, thus called since the Second French Empire, and boulevard de l'Étoile or boulevard Bezons before
  2. Avenue Hoche: avenue de la Reine-Hortense during the Second Empire and boulevard Monceau before
  3. Avenue de Friedland since the Second Empire and boulevard Beaujon before
  4. Avenue des Champs-Élysées
  5. Avenue Marceau: avenue Joséphine during the Second Empire
  6. Avenue d'Iéna
  7. Avenue Kléber: avenue du Roi-de-Rome during the Second Empire and boulevard de Passy before
  8. Avenue Victor Hugo: avenue d'Eylau during the Second Empire and avenue de Saint-Cloud before
  9. Avenue Foch: avenue du Bois (de Boulogne) during the Third Republic and avenue de l'Impératrice during the Second Empire
  10. Avenue de la Grande-Armée during the Second Empire and avenue de Neuilly before
  11. Avenue Carnot: avenue d'Essling during the Second Empire
  12. Avenue Mac-Mahon: avenue du Prince-Jérôme during the Second Empire

The place is symmetrical and thus has six axes:

  1. Axis avenue Mac-Mahon and avenue d'Iéna
  2. Axis avenue de Wagram and avenue Kléber
  3. Axis avenue Hoche and avenue Victor-Hugo
  4. Axis avenue de Friedland and avenue Foch
  5. Axis avenue des Champs-Élysées and avenue de la Grande-Armée: which is the axe historique of Paris
  6. Axis avenue Marceau and avenue Carnot

The Place de l'Étoile (as well as the Arc de Triomphe) is split between the 8th, 16th and the 17th arrondissements of Paris:

The square is surrounded by two streets forming a circle around it: the rue de Presbourg and the rue de Tilsitt which have been so named since 1864, after diplomatic successes of Napoleon I which led to the signing of the Treaty of Presbourg in 1805 and the Treaties of Tilsit in 1807.


La Place de l'étoile is the title of a novel by French writer Patrick Modiano.


Located near the Métro station: Charles de Gaulle - Étoile.

(Métro and RER)


  1. de Moncan, Patrice, Le Paris de Haussmann, Les Editions du Mecene, 2012 (ISBN 978-2-9079-70983)

Media related to Place Charles-de-Gaulle (Paris) at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 48°52′26″N 2°17′41″E / 48.87389°N 2.29472°E / 48.87389; 2.29472

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