Lying in the shadow of the illustrious Eiffel Tower, the Champ de Mars is a vast green space that is popular for picnics in the summer months and is often used for events and pop-ups the rest of the year.
It’s even been used as the backdrop for many a filming location over the years. In French, the park is known as the Parc du Champ-de-Mars. Here’s how to visit Champ de Mars in the 7th arrondissement and things to know before you go!
A history of the Champ de Mars
The history of the Parisian park dates all the way back to 1870. In a tribute to the Roman God of War, Mars, the green space is named ‘Mars Field’ after a field in Rome. This is also because the Champ de Mars’ strategic position close to the Military School meant that the area was once used as drilling and marching grounds.
Prior to the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the area where the public park now is was used as allotments. Private citizens could rent and own small plots to grow vegetables and flowers to sell at local markets. Today, the park stretches from the Eiffel Tower in the North West to École Militaire in the South East and is one of the best places to see near the Eiffel Tower.
Things to do at the Champ de Mars
Go up the Eiffel Tower
One of the most obvious things to do near the Champ de Mars is of course going up the Eiffel Tower, which was once the tallest structure in the world and since its creation in the latter half of the 1800s has since become an emblem of Paris.
Those wishing to go up the Eiffel Tower should note that it’s one of the busiest attractions in France, and as such, has queues to match. The best time to visit is early morning and mid-week if possible. Save time and purchase your direct-access Eiffel Tower tickets here in advance.
Enjoy a picnic
Of course, what better view to enjoy the Eiffel Tower sparkling than directly in front of it? If you wish to take part in a picnic, then note that you should bring a blanket or picnic blanket with you.
The grass is not of the best quality and can be bare in some patches. After all, this is one of the only parks in Paris where visitors are actually allowed to walk on the grass! Otherwise, be sure to come prepared with everything you need in the way of drinks and snacks.
The Champ de Mars is in a pretty sparse area and there is not much way of speciality supermarkets and shops around. Basic picnic supplies that you’ll want to bring with you include a baguette, local cheese, some fruit, and other snack items.
If you buy wine, be sure to also bring a bottle opener along as many French wines are corked as opposed to having screw tops. For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out our guide to creating the ultimate Parisian picnic.
See magnolias and cherry blossoms
Depending on the time of the year that you visit will depend on what kind of flowers that you’re able to see on the Champ de Mars. Though Paris is always worth a visit, my personal favourite time of the year is during the spring when all of the beautiful blooms are out and Paris is quieter than during the summer.
One of the first spring flowers to bloom in Paris is the magnolia, which typically flowers in February or March, depending on how harsh the winter has been. There are a number of magnolia blossom trees in the Champ de Mars, though visitors should note that new security fences around the Eiffel Tower make them harder to photograph than in previous years.
The other spring flower that is easily found in the Champ-de-Mars is that of cherry blossom and almond blossom. Depending on the weather, these flowers typically bloom between late March and mid-April. For more information, be sure to check out our cherry blossom guide to Paris.
Snap photos of fall foliage
Though not the best-known spot in the city to spot the changing of the leaf colours during the autumn, the vast green space that is Champ de Mars nevertheless deserves a place on this list, for the simple fact that it’s surrounded by so many trees! For more fall inspiration, check out our guide to the best fall foliage in Paris.
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