Avenue Foch in Paris. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

From elegant stretch to street of horror, and back

Strolling along the leafy sidewalks of Avenue Foch, one could be forgiven for thinking that this elegant stretch was always this peaceful. After all, it is one of the most sought-after addresses in the world and home to many recognisable family names – Onassis and Rothschild among them. The avenue runs across the swish 16th arrondissement, linking the Arc de Triomphe with the Bois de Boulogne, hence its original name of Avenue du Bois, although it was also known as the Avenue de L’Impératrice. Built during the reign of Napoleon III as a wide, tree-lined promenade flanked by opulent buildings, it was a hit with the local flâneurs.

In 1929, it was renamed after First World War protagonist Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch who, in 1918, accepted Germany’s cessation of hostilities and was present at the signing of the Armistice on November 11.

During the Nazi occupation of Paris, genteel Avenue Foch became home to the main Gestapo headquarters and SS counterintelligence. There were countless tales of the inhuman deeds perpetrated within. Avenue Foch thus became known as the ‘Street of Horrors’.

Fortunately for us, today the avenue has reverted back to its former more uplifting self – with eye-watering property prices to match.

From France Today magazine

Read other installments in our “Read the Signs” series:
Read the Signs: Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Cler
Read the Signs: Allée Sonia Rykiel in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Crémieux in Paris
Read the Signs: Place de l’Europe- Simone Veil in Paris

Read the Signs: Boulevard Haussmann in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue du Chat qui Pêche in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Mauvais Garçons in Paris
Read the Signs: Avenue de Champagne
Read the Signs: Rue du Temple in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Guy-Môquet in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris
Read the Signs: Boulevard Diderot in Paris

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