Paris, the city of lights, romance, and history, offers no shortage of magnificent sites to explore. Among its iconic Eiffel Tower, the winding Seine River, and art-laden museums, lies a lesser-known gem that pays tribute to the bond between France and the United States: the Place des États-Unis.
Place des États-Unis, or “United States Square,” is a small park located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It’s an emblem of the cultural bridge and historical connection between France and America. Here’s why every American visiting Paris should make a stop at this significant site.
A Symbol of Friendship
Place des États-Unis commemorates the enduring friendship between France and the United States. The square hosts a magnificent statue of George Washington, as well as a replica of the Liberty Torch, symbolizing the shared values of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
A walk around the square provides a moment to reflect on the deep-rooted history and alliance between the two nations. It’s a perfect place for Americans to feel a touch of home and a connection to their heritage while exploring foreign soil.
Place des États-Unis is surrounded by streets that honor prominent Americans or are related to American history. Some of them include:
Rue Washington, named after George Washington, the first President of the United States
Avenue Du President Wilson, named after Woodrow Wilson, President at the start of WWI
Avenue De New York after the iconic American city and where the smaller Torch of Liberty is located
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, lead the United States into join the Allies during WWII
Each avenue is marked along the way by signs highlighting the name of the each person or place.
Art and Architecture
The square is home to several sculptures and statues featuring prominent Americans:
Washington and Lafayette
A stunning statue of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who played a critical role in the American Revolutionary War can be found at the top of the square.
The statue, was created by American sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (who also designed the Statue of Liberty), portrays Washington and Lafayette shaking hands. The depiction symbolizes the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution.
The statue was unveiled in 1895. It was initially located at the intersection of Cours-la-Reine and Place de l’Alma but was later moved to Place des États-Unis.
Thomas Jefferson Statue
This statue in honor of Thomas Jefferson, is situated on the Left Bank of the Seine River, at the pedestrian bridge named Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, near the Musée d’Orsay. Its location is not accidental. During his time as Minister to France from 1785 to 1789, Jefferson resided in a residence on the Champs-Élysées, not far from the current location of the statue.
The bronze statue was sculpted by Jean Cardot and unveiled on July 4, 2006. It depicts Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, holding the Declaration of Independence in one hand, capturing his role as the principal author of this foundational document. The statue stands on a granite pedestal, and the pose of Jefferson exudes an air of thoughtfulness and determination.
American Volunteers Monument and Statue
This monument commemorates the American volunteers who joined various French military units before the official entry of the United States into World War I. Many of these volunteers served in the French Foreign Legion and the Lafayette Flying Corps. Their dedication and sacrifice marked a significant chapter in the long-standing friendship between France and the United States.
The monument was created by French sculptor Jean Boucher, who himself was a veteran of World War I. Boucher used a portrait of Alan Seeger, an American poet, and volunteer who died in battle, as the model for the soldier.
The monument was unveiled on July 4, 1923, and the ceremony was attended by numerous dignitaries, including Myron T. Herrick, the U.S. Ambassador to France, and Marshal Ferdinand Foch, a key French military figure during World War I.
The central feature of the monument is a bronze statue of a female figure representing France, holding a sword and extending her hand in gratitude to America. Below this figure, there is a bronze relief of a soldier, representing the American volunteers. The words “Lafayette, We Are Here!” are inscribed on the monument, recalling the famous words attributed to Colonel Charles E. Stanton during a speech in Paris in 1917.
Benjamin Franklin Tributes
Also nearby is the Statue of Benjamin Franklin and his place of residence during his stay in France as an ambassador for the United States.
Serenity in the Heart of Paris
Away from the hustle and bustle of major tourist attractions, Place des États-Unis offers a quiet retreat. The well-maintained park, adorned with trees and beautiful flower beds, provides a tranquil setting for visitors to relax and immerse themselves in history.
It’s an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic, a leisurely stroll, or simply a moment of reflection, all while soaking in the historical significance that surrounds you.
If you have kids in your party, the square does have a park for them to play at if they get bored or just need to get some energy out. It’s even named after Thomas Jefferson!
Getting to Place des États-Unis
The roads surrounding the square are fairly quiet and are typically very easy to park along. You may also get dropped offed by a taxi or take a short walk from the Eiffel Tower to the square. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the tower but along the way you’ll be able to view some other historic sites including the Thomas Jefferson statue and the Seine River.
Other nearby sites include Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris or Palais de Tokyo.
The nearest Metro station to Place des États-Unis is Boissière station.
We found that Place des États-Unis serves as more than just a picturesque location; it’s a tribute to the deep bond and shared history between France and the United States. Its unique combination of art, architecture, history, and serenity makes it a must-visit site for every American exploring the beautiful city of Paris but really can be enjoyed by all.