The Trocadéro

More Than a Place to View Paris

Everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower but far fewer are aware of the intrigue surrounding one of the Tower’s common viewing sites, the Trocadéro. Upon arrival, one may wonder why a Parisian area is designated with a Spanish name. The building named after the site (Palais du Trocadéro) is now missing, its site now occupied by the Palais de Chaillot, the location of several museums. Le Place du Trocadéro has long been a center of cultural expression and curiosities in the city of Paris and still remains one today

Perhaps what may draw the largest amount of people to the Trocadéro, is the view. The place sits across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, giving a lovely view with the gardens in the foreground. This is an excellent place to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower or simply relax and enjoy the view. The gardens have a lot of open space that is perfect for socializing on your day off. The garden’s many fountains are relaxing and may help offer an escape from the constant noise of the city. There is also a restaurant in the Place du Trocadéro which offers a similar view of the gardens and Eiffel Tower. If you are so enamored by this iconic landmark of Paris, you can stay in the hotel within walking distance of the Trocadéro called Hotel Etoile Trocadéro. However, there is much more to the Trocadéro than simply being a place to view other landmarks.

The Trocadéro is named after the Battle of Trocadero, which happened in 1823. France had assisted Spain in suppressing a rebellion against the monarchy. This involved taking a fort on the Isla de Trocadero, near the coast of Southern Spain. France was successful in this endeavor and thus the square was named in honor of their victory.

The Palais de Trocadéro was constructed in 1878 for the World’s Fair in Paris. Among the many artworks and artifacts from around the world showcased here was the head of the not yet iconic Statue of Liberty, later given to the United States of America as a gift. This building was eventually demolished in 1937 to construct a new Palais. However, it’s form and architecture can still be observed through photographs and postcards from the time period.

In 1937, the Palais du Trocadéro was replaced with the Palais de Chaillot. Today, this building contains many museums, including Le Musée de l’Homme and Musée national de la Marine. These sites have historically exhibited many artifacts from around the world, including pre-Colombian Native American artifacts, which were of special interest to Europeans in the early 20th century.

This public space was used throughout its history for many events. As mentioned previously, there were several world fairs or exhibitions showcasing art and artifacts from around the world. In addition to displays of various cultural artifacts, the site has also been a site for French cultural expression. Around the turn of the twentieth century, the were also many concerts performed in this area. Despite France being officially secular at this time, much of the music played was religious (Catholic) in nature. This started to reaffirm Catholicism as an essential part of being French.

Any visit to Paris should warrant a visit to the Trocadéro. You simply cannot skip the opportunity to take in some of the city’s most iconic views. However, you should recognize the other cultural interests available at the Trocadéro. There are many more in depth cultural experiences to be had, such as visiting the many museums in the Palais du Chaillot. If I lived in Paris, I would certainly spend a lot of free time here, learning about the many different cultures of the world.