City of Names: Queen Elizabeth II


The Queen of England has a long and positive history with France’s great capital. But did you know that it was only this year that they named a place after her?

Throughout history, the British Monarchy has seen Paris as a place to let one’s hair down and partake in a little of what one fancies. From Edward VII (then the Prince of Wales) hopping the channel to go and watch Le Petomane perform, to newly abdicated Edward and Mrs Simpson setting up home in Paris in the 1930s, there has, for the last century at least, been a strong relationship between the royals and the City of Light.

There have been countless official and unofficial visits from many members of the family, including an occasion on this day in 1981 when the Moulin Rouge was closed for a one-off private performance for the Queen herself.

Queen Elizabeth II meets dancers from the Moulin Rouge after a unique private performance. 23 November 1981.

Queen Elizabeth II meets dancers from the Moulin Rouge after a unique private performance. 23 November 1981.

But it was only this summer, on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, that city officials chose to mark their links with our reigning monarch by giving her a namecheck on the map.

Since 1808 there has been a flower and bird market on place Louis-Lépine on Ile de la Cité and many visitors to Paris will spend time there after seeing the Notre Dame or the Palais de Justice. It’s a fragant, vibrant space where, to this day, you can go on a Sunday morning and buy a canary and a bunch of roses.

There are of course many flower markets in Paris but this one really has the edge. Its iconic iron pavilions and narrow alleys make it a place where you could easily while away a couple of hours on a sunny weekend.

Until 2014, the market had simply been called Le marché aux fleurs et aux oiseaux de Cité, but to honour the state visit of the Queen in June it was renamed Le marché aux fleurs Reine-Elizabeth-II.

In a formal ceremony attended by President Francois Hollande, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and the Queen herself, the new street sign was unveiled on 7 June 2014. A lovely and fitting gesture to a Queen who is known for her love of flowers and gardens.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, French President Hollande and Paris Mayor Hidalgo unveil a plaque during a visit at the flower market in Paris

The market is open every day but, these days, only sells birds or animals on Sundays. You will find it near to Cité metro station and it’s shown on the map below.

One response to “City of Names: Queen Elizabeth II

  1. Pingback: Hidden Treasures: Dupleix Market | andrew james writer·

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