The Place de la République in Caen
+ more than 500 years of history
« The Place de la République is located on the site of the meadows separating the medieval districts of the city, Bourg-le-Roi and Saint-Jean. In the 17th century, the place was terraced to form a square square and thus urbanise the gap between the parishes of Saint-Jean and Notre-Dame (1635-1637). This place de la Chaussée, renamed 'Place Royale' in 1679, was home to the statue of Louis XIV in 1685. The work represents the monarch n Roman emperor. It is surrounded by bollards and rows of lime trees. The square was then at the heart of a new posh neighbourhood, prized by the aristocracy who had splendid private mansions built there. The 19th century will place it at the centre of the local administrative life. The municipality settled in the Eudist monastery and installed the town hall there in 1791. The statue of Louis XIV, vandalised during the revolution, was restored by Mayor Forestier d'Osseville in 1828. The post office building was built on its outskirts in 1881, while the prefecture was connected to the square by the rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville. The square became Place Impériale, then Place de la République. The latter name does not go well with the presence of this symbol of absolutism. It was therefore decided, in August 1882, to transfer the embarrassing bronze to the park of the Abbaye aux Hommes, in front of the lycée, Place Guillouard. The statue remained there until the installation of the town hall in the abbey buildings. Its tribulations will therefore continue towards the Place Saint-Sauveur [...].
Complete facelift in the 19th century
In April 1882, Place Royale underwent a complete facelift at the initiative of the town council. Renamed « Place de la République », it was transformed into a square with public lighting and decorated with flowerbeds and terraces. [...] The following year, the square was surrounded by a fence. [..]
In 1882, a dodecagonal bandstand was set up with the names of great composers inscribed on the top [...]. Lekiosque became a meeting place for music lovers who came to attend the weekly concerts of the town's military bands. The kiosk survived the war, but was destroyed during the redevelopment of the square which had been ravaged by bombing. » [..]
*Extract from « Caen 100 years ago in old postcards, Christophe Belser, Patrimoines Médias editions », AD collection, 2008.