Who is the Place de Furstemberg named after?
Although the tiny Place de Furstemberg may be the smallest square in Paris, its charm is undeniable.
Situated near the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, it owes its name to the famous Prince de Furstenberg, William Egon of Fürstenberg (1629 – 1704).
He created the three streets of Rue Cardinale, passage de la Petite-Boucherie and Rue de Furstemberg on the forecourt of the abbatial palace. Rue de Furstemberg itself was opened on the site of the abbey’s stables.
The count died at age 74 in Paris on the 10th of April, 1704.
Not really a square!
Place de Furstemberg is not technically a square but a street (rue de Furstemberg or Furstenberg) with a small roundabout for traffic.
Four paulownias have been planted in its centre.
The place has a romantic feel and elegant Parisian-style lamp posts, particularly at night when the five globes are lit up.
Eugène Delacroix and Rue de Furstemberg
Painter Eugène Delacroix used to live there, and his former dwelling today houses the Delacroix Museum.
The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix occupies the former flat and studio of the painter Eugène Delacroix.
It is quite a unique and captivating museum space in central Paris.
Since the museum was founded in 1932, its collections have brought together more than a thousand works. They include works by Delacroix – paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts – as well as objects that belonged to him and works created by artists who admired him.
Place de Furstemberg in movies
The street appears in several films:
- Sans laisser d’adresse (1951), by Jean-Paul Le Chanois, with Bernard Blier and Danièle Delorme.
- Gigi (1958), by Vincente Minelli, in which the actor Louis Jourdan makes a singing performance.
- The Age of Innocence (1993), by Martin Scorsese. The street appears in the last scene of the film.
Read more about the neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
The new face of the Place de Furstemberg in 2023
In July 2023, Paris City Hall took a decision that caused quite a stir among residents of the 6th arrondissement.
Five trees, including a majestic specimen on the Place de Furstemberg in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, were felled to protect the safety of users.
Le plus majestueux des arbres du carré central de la rue de Furstemberg, endroit le plus charmant de Paris, que je connais depuis mon enfance, vient d’être abattu sans autre forme de procès.
C’est une nouvelle atteinte à notre patrimoine.
Nous attendons l’explication de la… pic.twitter.com/o18jmpSudv
— Eric Anceau (@Eric_Anceau) July 28, 2023
This measure has provoked passionate reactions from residents, who have expressed their sadness and concern on social networks.
On Twitter, historian Eric Anceau intensely lamented the loss of the giant tree in the rue de Furstemberg, describing it as the most charming spot in Paris, which he has known since childhood.
Other Internet users also criticised the decision, using the hashtag #saccageParis, which residents had created to denounce the fouling and degradation of the capital.
In a press release, the City of Paris tree department attempted to justify the felling by pointing out that the trees were diseased and had poor anchorage, which could lead to them falling.
Despite these explanations, the images of the felling moved many Parisians. The paulownia on rue de Furstemberg, the largest and oldest of all the Parisian specimens with a circumference of 355 cm, leaves a striking void in the landscape. To allay concerns, the authorities have announced a replanting plan for next winter.
Paulownias, imported from Asia in the 19th century, are trees with bright purple flowers that can reach heights up to 20 metres.
However, their weak root system has raised concerns about their stability. Architect Tangui Le Dantec explains that these trees tend to favour rapid growth towards the light in their early years, which can be detrimental to their balance, unlike other species.
Despite these clarifications, the debate surrounding the felling of these beloved trees persists within the Parisian community.
🌳Devant l’émotion suscitée par l’abattage d’un des arbres classés les plus emblématiques de Paris place de Furstemberg, ainsi que 4 autres de la même espèce place Laurent Terzieff, quelques explications s’imposent.
Regardons le cycle de vie des Paulownias.
— Tangui Le Dantec (@TanguiLeDantec) July 29, 2023