Place de la République: A History


Place de la République: A Place for Demonstrations

Place de la République made headlines in January 2015. This was the location where many marched after the Charlie Hebdo attack. So why did so many choose to go to this specific location in Paris to demonstrate their solidarity for the victims? Well hopefully looking into its history will help explain the significance of this location.

A Defensive Wall

During the time of Charles V, there was a wall built around Paris to protect it. A pretty normal thing for medieval times. One of the bastions of the wall was in the location of today's Place de la République. Eventually the bastion was replaced with a fountain called Chateau d'Eau and it became another important landmark for the city.

Leftover Posters from Charlie Hebdo

Military Barracks

The 1800s saw many changes in the design of Paris. One of the main streets of the square became Avenue de la République, leading to the name of the square. Many theaters were taken down and the square was enlarged. But the new addition were the barracks, or "caserne" for the Guarde Républicaine.

An Anniversary Inauguration

In 1880, the statue that we see today, was inaugurated on July 14th, the anniversary of the French Revolution. At the base, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity take form as allegories. At the top is Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic. In 2011, the statue underwent some work and renovations, but today those are complete, although it looks a little different from all the Charlie Hebdo rally graffiti.

Months After the Attack and People are Still Coming Back

Popular for its Name

Through the years, Place de la République has seen many demonstrations and rallies. It has always been a popular destination because of its location, but what really has drawn people is its name. Any time something is not right with the republic, or the republic is threatened, they go to the location that is supposed to represent the glory of the republic. Now I understand why it was such an important destination for the rally.

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