Named after the Roman God of War, this appellation relates to the original vocation of the area as an exercise ground for the military cadets of the École militaire. Created in 1780, it is a major venue for national events. This park extends from the École militaire to the Eiffel Tower and is accessible day and night as it is not enclosed. It offers a wonderful view of the capital’s most famous monument; whatever the weather, people come to picnic, play music, meet up, and at nightfall ... to watch the tower sparkle with lights.
The rectangular design of the Champ-de-Mars recalls its initial purpose: a training ground for the military manoeuvres of the Ecole Militaire (Military School). Opened in 1780, it became an important place for national events: 'fête de la fédération' in 1790, the awarding of decorations by Napoleon I in 1804, then the setting for many world fairs. Lakes, ornamental ponds, winding walks and grottoes adorn the Champ-de-Mars. Many birds may be seen in the area and it is one of the rare places in Paris where the song of the tawny owl is heard at night.