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In 1704, the part of the Pré-aux-Clercs called the "Prés-Saint-Germain" was transformed, according to the plans of the architect Robert de Cotte, into a large rectangular square sown with grass and lined with several rows of trees. trees. The original purpose of this space was to make a vegetable garden where war invalids could grow vegetables, and also meet the Parisians1. In this way, veterans were not reclusive despite their disability.

This esplanade stretched from the Place des Invalides to the rue de l'Université and its center was marked by the crossing of two lanes, the Avenue des Invalides, today avenue du Maréchal-Gallieni, and the street Saint-Dominique whose western part (called "Saint-Dominique with Gros-Caillou") and the eastern part (called "Saint-Dominique-Saint-Germain") would be united in 1838. This crossing was occupied by a roundabout which welcomed, between 1804 and 1840, the fountain of the Invalides. Under a decree of December 4, 1720 to improve the neighborhood Gros-Caillou, the esplanade was extended north to the Quai d'Orsay.

The esplanade des Invalides was the scene of major official events, such as the feast of August 10, 1793, the Exhibition of Industry in 1806 or the ceremony of the return of the ashes of Napoleon December 15, 1840. On occasion From the first of these manifestations, a gigantic but ephemeral statue of the French people represented in Hercules slaying the hydra of federalism was raised in the center of the esplanade. It symbolized the recent triumph of the Mountain over its political enemies (Girondins and Federalists) and the Marais. At the ceremony of the return of the ashes, the esplanade was lined with stands intended to receive 36 000 spectators and the avenue was decorated with thirty-two statues of illustrious men. (Wikipedia)
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