The Place d'Italie is a public space in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. The square has an average dimension somewhat less than 200 meters in extent (comprising about 30,000 m²), and the following streets meet there:
- Boulevard Vincent-Auriol
- Boulevard de l'Hôpital
- Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui
- Avenue des Gobelins
- Avenue de la Sœur-Rosalie
- Avenue d'Italie
- Avenue de Choisy
- Rue Bobillot
- Rue Godefroy
The town hall (mairie) for the 13th arrondissement is on the Place d'Italie.
The Place d'Italie takes its name from its proximity to the Avenue d'Italie, which, traditionally, has been the point of departure on the road that links Paris and Italy
, a route now called the RN7 (Route Nationale
7). Until the expansion of Paris was initiated by Baron Haussmann, the site of the Place d'Italie was occupied by a section of the Wall of the Farmers-General (the wall built, under the ancien régime, to prevent the evasion of excise taxes) that separated Paris from the suburb of Gentilly. The architect, Claude Nicolas Ledoux, had constructed there two pavilions for the collection of the octroi, a local tariff levied on products entering towns, which were burned during the revolution of 1789 but rebuilt and not completely eradicated until 1877.
Sites of Interest:
- The center of the square is devoted to a small green-space. Facing the Avenue d'Italie, there is a monument in memory of the Marshal of France, Alphonse Juin, completed by the architect, Henri Cantie, the sculptor, André Greck, and the foundryman, Daniel Landowski, in 1983.
- Two subway entrances, the works of Hector Guimard, have been registered in the supplemental list of historic places since 1978.
- At number 17 on the access road, Rue Godefroy, located between the Boulevard de l'Hôpital and the Bouevard Vincent Auriol, a plaque recalls that the Chinese premier, Chou En-lai lived on this site, then a modest rooming house, during his time in Paris, 1922 to 1924.
- In the small garden behind the municipal building for the arrondissement, there is a sculpture, "Return of the Prodigal Son", executed in 1964 by Ossip Zadkine.
- A large shopping mall whose modern look was designed by the famed architect, Kenzo Tange, is also located on the square. It is called Italie 2.
- The esplanade on the side of the mall nearest the Avenue d'Italie was named Place Henri-Langlois in 1995 to honor Henri Langlois, a French pioneer of the film archive movement