The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot, is an area of
Paris, in the 16th "arrondissement", across the Seinefrom the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of "Chaillot", a former village.
Origin of the name
Battle of Trocadero, the fortified position on the Bay of Cádiz in the south of Spainwas captured on August 31, 1823, by French forces led by the Duc d'Angoulême, son of the future king Charles X. The goal was to intervene against the liberal Spanish who were rebelling against the autocracy of Ferdinand VII. Trocadero restored the autocratic Spanish Bourbon Ferdinand to the throne of Spain, in an action that defined the "Restoration". The name "trocadero" comes from the term referring to an emporium or place of trade.
The event was considered worthy of commemoration in Paris: the name "place du Trocadéro" was given in
1877(though the name had been associated with the area since 1823) to a square formerly known as the "place du Roi de Rome" (i.e., Place of the King of Rome), the renaming being an example of discarding a reference to a defeated regime. Today that square is officially named "place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre", though it is usually simply called the place du Trocadéro.
The stylish connotations of the Place du Trocadéro inspired, first, the Trocadero Restaurant in London, and then multitudes of nightclubs and cinemas named "Trocadero".
The old Palais du Trocadéro
The hill of Chaillot was first arranged for the
1867 World's Fair.
For the 1878 World's Fair, the (old) "Palais du Trocadéro" was built here (where meetings of international organizations could be held during the fair). The palace's form was that of a large concert hall with two wings and two towers; its style was a mixture of exotic and historical references, generally called "
Moorish" but with some Byzantine elements. The architect was Gabriel Davioud. The concert hall contained a large organ built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, the first large organ to be installed in a concert hall in France. It was removed to a hall in Lyonand subsequently destroyed by fire. The building proved unpopular, though the cost expended in its construction delayed its replacement for nearly fifty years.
Below the building, in the space left by former underground quarries, a large aquarium was built to contain fish of French rivers. It was renovated in
1937but closed again for renovation from 1985until May 22, 2006[http://www.paris.fr/portail/Parcs/Portal.lut?page_id=6685&document_type_id=5&document_id=19940&portlet_id=15223] . The space between the palais and the Seine is set with gardens, designed by Jean-Charles Alphand, and an array of fountains.
The new Palais de Chaillot
For the Exposition Internationale of 1937, the old Palais du Trocadéro was demolished and replaced by the "Palais de Chaillot" which now tops the hill. It was designed in classicizing "moderne" style by architects
Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carluand Léon Azéma. Like the old palais, the palais de Chaillot features two wings shaped to form a wide arc: indeed, these wings were built on the foundations of those of the former building. However, unlike the old palais, the wings are independent buildings and there is no central element to connect them: instead, a wide esplanade leaves an open view from the place du Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and beyond.
The buildings are decorated with quotations by
Paul Valéry, and they now house a number of museums:
* the "
Musée national de la Marine" (naval museum) and the " Musée de l'Homme" (ethnology) in the southern ("Passy") wing,
* the "
Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine", including the " Musée national des Monuments Français", in the eastern ("Paris") wing, from which one also enters the " Théâtre national de Chaillot", a theater below the esplanade.
It was on the front terrace of the palace that
Adolf Hitlerwas pictured during his short tour of the vanquished city in 1940, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. This became an iconic image of the Second World War.
It is in the Palais de Chaillot that the
United Nations General Assemblyadopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rightson December 10, 1948. This event is now commemorated by a stone, and the esplanade is known as the "esplanade des droits de l'homme" ("esplanade of human rights").
Five avenues come from the Trocadéro: the "avenue
Henri-Martin" which goes to the "porte de la Muette" and passes in front of the " lycée Janson de Sailly" (Janson de Sailly secondary school); the "avenue Paul Doumer" which goes to the Muette; the "avenue d'Eylau" which goes to the place of Mexico; the "avenue Kléber" which goes to the " place de l'Etoile"; and the "avenue d'Iéna" which goes to the " musée Guimet". There is a big municipal library near the Trocadéro's square.
* [http://www.paris-photos.org/trocadero.php Photos of Trocadero in Paris]
* [http://www.insecula.com/musee/M0055.html View and description of the Trocadéro]
* [http://paris1900.lartnouveau.com/cartes_postales_anciennes/le_trocadero.htm Images of the old Palais du Trocadéro]
* [http://paris1900.lartnouveau.com/paris16/le_palais_de_chaillot.htm Images of the Palais de Chaillot]
* [http://www.forbidden-places.net/urban-exploration-le-palais-de-chaillot The Palais de Chaillot while it was being renovated]
* [http://www.oct17.org/archives/en/dalleuk.htm Commemorative stone dedication on Trocadéro Human Rights Plaza, October 17, 1987]
* [http://www.visitonweb.com/wikipedia/paris/flash/vue24-eiffel-tour-trocadero-paris-uk.html Virtual tour 360 degrees in fullscreen. Use your mouse to turn around !]
* [http://www.arounder.eu/parigi/trocadero.html France, Paris, Trocadéro] Virtual tour with map and compass effect by Tolomeus
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.