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  • Writer's pictureWill von Behr, MA

A Brief History of Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadéro Gardens)

What is Jardins du Trocadéro?

Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadéro Gardens) are long rectangular gardens with the Paris’ largest fountain and beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower.

Jardins du Trocadéro

Jardins du Trocadéro History

The impressive gardens and fountains which make up the Jardins du Trocadéro were originally laid out in the 1870s by prominent architect Adolphe Alphand. At that time they formed the gardens of the Trocadero Palace, built for Paris’ third Exposition Universelle, a world fair held in 1878 to celebrate the recovery of France after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Although impressive, the venue was considered lacking by the time Paris started to prepare for the 1937 Exposition of Art and Technology in the Modern World. The beautiful Trocadero Palace was partially demolished and the much grander (and more modern) Palais de Chaillot, which you see before you at the north-western end of the gardens, was built on its foundations.

The Chaillot Palace is composed of two wings which form an arc on either side of a wide central promenade built on top of the demolished central hall and towers of the previous palace. The promenade faces directly down the length of the gardens towards the Eiffel Tower, which dramatically stands guard on the opposite bank of the River Seine. This is undoubtedly one of the best spots in all of Paris from which to take a photo of the tower and is almost always filled with tourists.

Running almost the length of the gardens between the palace and the Seine is the Fountain of Warsaw, the garden’s main feature and the largest fountain in the city. It comprises a long central basin with two rows of fountains positioned to run directly from the palace towards the Eiffel Tower. These main fountains produce 12-metre high columns of water and are supplemented by many smaller fountains and jets. At the palace-end of the main basin you’ll see further rectangular and square basins, each of which have their own majestic bronze statues of various animals made by prominent French sculptors.

Alongside the fountains there are grassy banks where visitors often sit and admire the spectacle, particularly in the evening when the elaborate and colourful lighting is turned on.

There are several other sculptures dotted around the gardens, including stone statues of L’Homme (‘Man’) by Pierre Traverse and La Femme (‘Woman’) by Daniel Bacqué on the first level below the palace, and the six-metre-tall Apollo with Lyre by Henri Bouchard, alongside a matching six-metre Hercules with Bull by Albert Pommier.

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