Locate all the essential places of Paris accessible by metro and discover the rich heritage of the RATP.Start the tour
Born in 1838, Léon Gambetta helped create the Third Republic. Maybe this is why the lawyer and statesman’s name graces the former terminus of Line 3, which runs through République!
Civil liberties! Universal suffrage! Free and secular education! Léon Gambetta shared the ideas of the Communards and was a steadfast Republican his entire life.
In 1870, then Minister of the Interior and War, he opposed France’s surrender to the Prussians and decided to organize the resistance in Tours. Paris is under siege: to escape, he leaves...in a hot air balloon. The spectacular getaway vehicle, nicknamed the ‘siege balloon’, is remembered forever.
Upon his return, Gambetta continued his political career and even became President of the Chamber of Deputies in 1879. A project to build a metro is underway, and Gambetta supported the nationalization of the railway. In terms of heavenward transportation, however, he is most known for advocating the separation of church and state (which only occurred in France in 1905), famously declaring clericalism as “the real enemy”.
A great orator, Gambetta’s life on the ground ended at the age of 44 in 1882, in his home, les Jardies, in the Paris suburb of Sevres. His heart was interred at the Pantheon in 1920 in a red marble urn. A statue in his memory was erected in the Tuileries gardens in 1884. It was later moved to the Cour Napoléon of the Louvre and again, in 1982, to Square Edouard-Vaillant in the 20th arrondissement, close to the metro station which bears his name.