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The boulevard des Italiens is one of the four 'grands boulevards' in Parismarker, a chain running east west and also including boulevard de la Madeleinemarker, Boulevard des Capucines and boulevard Montmartremarker. The origin of the name is the théâtre des Italiens built on it in 1783, shortly before the French Revolution (now replaced by the Opéra-Comiquemarker).

Its former names were :
  • boulevard Neuf (=New boulevard)
  • boulevard du Dépôt (boulevard of the barrack), because of a barrack installed in 1764 on the corner of rue de la Chaussée d'Antinmarker
  • boulevard de la Chaussée d'Antin
  • boulevard Cerutti with the name of an hôtel on the boulevard (during the French Revolution)
  • le petit Coblence ("little Koblenz") after 1795, since many émigrés returning to France during the French Directory gathered on it (Koblenzmarker had been a popular exile destination for them)
  • boulevard de Gand, on one side of the boulevard, under the second Bourbon Restoration, from 1815 to 1828 in memory of Louis XVIII's exile in Ghentmarker during the Hundred Days.

Throughout the 19th century the boulevard was a meeting place for the elegant elite of Paris (a role that lasted until the First World War).

It was to replace Muscadins and Merveilleuses at the time of the Directoire, Gandins at the Restauration, Dandies during the reign of Louis-Philippe 1st, women in crinolines during the Second Empire.

That time was also a major epoque for several famous Cafés: Café de Paris, café Tortoni (the café Tortonimarker in Buenos Airesmarker takes its name from that in Paris), café Frascati, café Français, Maison dorée among others. Upon completion of boulevard Haussmannmarker in the 1920s these establishments disappeared to be replaced by other buildings, particularly financial ones.

Notable places

Source :

At the junction with rue Laffittemarker, a nice view of the Sacré-Coeur de Montmartremarker, which seems to be placed on the top of the church Notre-Dame de Lorette, whereas in fact, it is much more distant.

  • At n° 13, the place of the former Café Anglaismarker (1802-1913) famous restaurant of the Second Empire, replaced by a building in the Art Nouveau style.

  • At n° 16, the place of the former Café Riche (1791)

  • At n° 22, the place of the former Café Tortoni

  • At n° 26, the place of the former Cafe de Bade

  • At n° 36, a building created in 1929 by Michel Roux-Spitz. The ground floor was used as exposition hall for the Ford cars. Now, it is a fast food restaurant.

At the corner of rue de la Chaussée d'Antinmarker was the Dépôt des Gardes-françaises (French Guards' barracks) built by the colonel Duke of Biron in 1764. It gave the name of the boulevard for some years. On 12 July 1789, a platoon of the gards saved his colonel, Duchâtelet, from popular riots.

At the corner of rue Louis-le-Grand, Palais Berlitzmarker built in the style of the 1930s in place of the Pavillon de Hanovre of the 18th century which has been disassembled and rebuilt in the park of Sceaux.


Image:Rue_Laffitte.jpg|View of the rue LaffitteImage:Café_anglais_2009.jpg|The place of the Café AnglaisImage:Siege BNPP rue Laffitte.jpg|BNP-Paribas' head offices, with the facade of the former restaurant "la Maison Dorée"Image:Crédit lyonnais (1).JPG|Crédit Lyonnais' head officesImage:Palais Berlitz1.jpg|The Palais Berlitz


  1. Paris, le guide vert, Éditions Michelin, ISBN 2-06-700352-6
  2. Paris : 300 façades pour les curieux, Christine Bonneton editor, by Hélène Hatte & Frédéric Tran, june 2008, 17, avenue Théophile Gautier - Paris, 190 p. , ISBN : 2-86253-429-9
  3. Le boulevard des Italiens on the web site

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