The Place de l'Étoile is a large road junction in Paris, France, the meeting point of twelve straight avenues (hence the name "Star Square") including the Champs-Élysées which continues to the east. It was renamed Place Charles de Gaulle in 1970 in honor of President de Gaulle, but is still largely referred to by its original name.
The place lies in the middle of the Axe historique and at its centre stands the Arc de Triomphe.
Place de l'Étoile and the avenues leading to it were extensively redesigned as part of Baron Haussmann's urban planning projects.
The twelve avenues, clockwise from the north, are:
- Avenue de Wagram, thus called since the Second French Empire, and boulevard de l'Étoile or boulevard Bezons before
- Avenue Hoche: avenue de la Reine-Hortense during the Second Empire and boulevard Monceau before
- Avenue de Friedland since the Second Empire and boulevard Beaujon before
- Avenue des Champs-Élysées
- Avenue Marceau: avenue Joséphine during the Second Empire
- Avenue d'Iéna
- Avenue Kléber: avenue du Roi-de-Rome during the Second Empire and boulevard de Passy before
- Avenue Victor Hugo: avenue d'Eylau during the Second Empire and avenue de Saint-Cloud before
- Avenue Foch: avenue du Bois (de Boulogne) during the Third Republic and avenue de l'Impératrice during the Second Empire
- Avenue de la Grande-Armée during the Second Empire and avenue de Neuilly before
- Avenue Carnot: avenue d'Essling during the Second Empire
- Avenue Mac-Mahon: avenue du Prince-Jérôme during the Second Empire
The place is symmetrical and thus has six axes:
- Axis avenue Mac-Mahon and avenue d'Iéna
- Axis avenue de Wagram and avenue Kléber
- Axis avenue Hoche and avenue Victor-Hugo
- Axis avenue de Friedland and avenue Foch
- Axis avenue des Champs-Élysées and avenue de la Grande-Armée: the is the axe historique of Paris
- Axis avenue Marceau and avenue Carnot
The Place de l'Étoile (as well as the Arc de Triomphe) is split between the VIIIe, XVIe and the XVIIe arrondissements of Paris:
- VIIIe: area between avenue de Wagram and avenue Marceau
- XVIe: area between avenue Marceau and avenue de la Grande-Armée
- XVIIe: area between avenue de la Grande Armée and avenue de Wagram
The place is surrounded by two streets forming a circle around it: the rue de Presbourg and the rue de Tilsitt which have been so named since 1864, after diplomatic successes of Napoleon.
La Place de l'étoile is the title of a novel by French writer Patrick Modiano.
Motor Insurance Myth
There is an urban myth that motor insurance companies will not cover driving around the Étoile, which is not strictly true. Insurance companies generally only cover motor accidents on the Étoile under a knock-for-knock agreement, whereby each insurance company will pay for losses by its own policyholder, provided that the other party's insurance company agrees to do the same for the other policyholder.