An idyllic stretch of greenery encircling the iconic pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars is one of the most popular of Paris' parks. Named after Rome’s Campus Martius, a tribute to the Roman God of War, Champs de Mars was originally designed as a military training area for the nearby Ecole Militaire (Military School), but became an important arena for national events when it opened to the public back in 1780. Many key moments throughout the French Revolution took place here - including the first Fête de la Fédération (Federation Day or Bastille Day) in 1790, the legendary Festival of the Supreme Being in 1794, and it was the site of the 1791 Champs de Mars massacre - a bloody demonstration against King Louis XVI.
Today, the harrowing history is just a memory, and the park makes a popular detour for those visiting the Eiffel Tower with its glistening lakes, ornamental ponds and rectangular landscaped gardens. The 60 acre stretch runs from the Seine River to the Ecole Militaire, and contains a series of walkways, children's playground and sports fields. The park is also home to the poignant Monument to Peace - a modernist memorial created by Clara Halter and Jean-Michel Wilmotte that features 32 columns inscribed with the word ‘peace,’ each written in a different language. The park is still the go-to site for public events, hosting the annual Bastille Day celebrations and New Year's Eve firework displays.