The headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation have been based in Paris since its creation.

UNESCO is a UN agency. It was created on November 16th, 1945. It aims to “contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security by tightening cooperation between nations through education, science and culture, in order to ensure universal respect of justice, law, Human Rights and fundamental freedoms for all, which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations”. The Preamble of UNESCO’s Constitution, it is also reminded that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”. Today, 195 states are members and 8 are associate members. Palestine was the last state to become a member in 2011.

UNESCO headquarters are located in a “y” shaped building, standing on 72 concrete piles. It was inaugurated in 1958. An annexe was added afterwards, in rue Miollis: it hosts several departments and the offices for member states’ delegations.

The buildings and the gardens of UNESCO house numerous contemporary art works such as murals by Picasso and Miró, Totes les coses by Tapies, Freedom by Abelardo Espejo Tramblin and The Symbolic Globe by Erik Reitzel, as well as pieces by Alexander Calder, Bazaine, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Henry Moore, Takis and Tsereteli.

The visitors should not miss, particularly in the gardens, places devoted to the organisation’s values such as the Garden of Peace by Isamu Noguchi and the Square of Tolerance by Dani Karavan.

Regarding the specific field of peace and non-violence, the organisation gets help from UNESCO artists for Peace to raise awareness about its work among the public. Since 1981, it awards every year a Prize for Peace Education. It incited the UN to declare the year 2000 “International Year for the Culture of Peace” and was chosen as the leader of the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). In 2012, an intersectoral platform on dialogue and a culture of peace was created within the organisation in order to continue the work on this subject during the Decade.

Opening hours
Guided Tours
Tue to Fri at 10am and 3pm
Additional information
Public transport
Underground 10 Ségur
Underground 6 Cambronne or La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle
Underground 8 Ecole Militaire
Underground 13 Saint François-Xavier
Vélib station n° 7018 23 avenue de Ségur or station n° 15009 140 avenue de Suffren or station n° 15010 3 boulevard Garibaldi
Bus 28 Fontenoy-UNESCO
Bus 80 Cambronne
Bus 87 Duquesne-Lowendal


In November 2007, the Paris Council decided to name this crossroads after Jacques Pâris de Bollardière, a General who bravely opposed torture and became an advocate of non-violence.

As a former student of the Military Academy of Saint-Cyr and an officer in the French army, Jacques Pâris de Bollardière (1907-1986) joined the Free French Forces during the Second World War and participated in the African campaigns and in the fights in France. He was made Companion of the Liberation by Charles de Gaulle in 1941 and was one of the most decorated Frenchmen during the Second World War.

He then took part in the Indochina war and in the Algerian war from 1956. However, he refused to use means that had been those of the Nazis he had fought against; therefore, he opposed the French army methods and torture in particular. In March 1957, he decided to provide his support to Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, director of L’Express magazine, who had just published several articles condemning the use of torture by the French army. He was immediately sentenced to 60 days of confinement in a military jail, for “he touched upon the honour of the troops he commanded”. He quit the army in 1961, retrained in social economy and became the President of an organisation called Housing and Social Advancement.

In 1970, together with his wife Simone, he decided to join the non-violent action after listening to a lecture by Jean-Marie Muller. He became one of the founding members of the Movement for a Non-Violent Alternative (MAN). He replied to General Massu who was standing for torture in Algeria in his book The Battle of Algiers, Battle of Man (1972), saying that “the expression « human dignity » is neither abstracted nor hollow. It should not be sacrificed for any fight, any cause. […] We need to claim that no end justifies torture as means”.

Jacques Pâris de Bollardière was also in Larzac in 1973 alongside peasants who were fighting against the extension of the military camp, as well as on a boat off the coast of the Mururoa Atoll with Jean Toulat, Jean-Marie Muller and Brice Lalonde to protest against the nuclear tests done by France in Polynesia. As a committed Christian, he has become the “companion” of every single liberation.

However, it is too bad that the plaque paying tribute to him at the crossroads only mentions his designation of General and Companion of the Liberation and says nothing about his fight against torture and his commitment to non-violence.

Public transport
Underground 6 Cambronne or La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle or Dupleix
Underground 8 Ecole militaire
Vélib station n° 904 Ecole militaire-Avenue de la Motte-Picquet or station n° 15024 88 avenue de Suffren
Bus 80, 82 Joffre-Suffren
Way to the next peace trail station
6 minutes

Wall for Peace

Facing the Military School, the Wall for Peace is here to remind us that it is necessary to celebrate peace in our cities.

The Wall for Peace is located on the Champ de Mars, facing the Military School, whose buildings host the War School. It was designed by Clara Halter, an artist committed to promoting peace and supported in her action by her husband Marek Halter, a French Jewish writer of Polish descent. Made by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, it was erected on the Champ de Mars in 2000 to celebrate the millenium.

As art historian Philippe Dagen reminds, speaking about the Wall for Peace, monuments and symbols of war “are so numerous that they are barely noticed anymore. They are everywhere in our landscapes, in the cities and along the roads, next to fields and sometimes even on beaches. […] Conversely, peace signs are missing. Nobody cares about what is really worth commemorating”.


The Wall is made of a metal frame and large glass walls, on which the word “Peace” is written in 49 languages. Cracks have been made in the Wall to be filled with messages from visitors, based on the Jerusalem Wailing Wall model. These messages are then collected and displayed on screens that are integrated to the monument. Following the same idea, Clara Halter designed a Peace Tower in Saint Petersburg in 2003 and Peace Doors in Hiroshima in 2005.

Originally set up for four months to celebrate the year 2000, this monument finally became permanent, although it has not been spared from controversies and degradation. It was vandalised several times, broken or soiled by racist or anti-Semitic messages. In 2011, Rachida Dati, the mayor of Paris 7th district and former Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, demanded the monument to be taken down and moved to another place. She launched a petition “to save the protected perspective of the Champ de Mars”.

The Wall has become a meeting place for demonstrations and gatherings of Human Rights and Peace activists. For instance, every year since 2012, between August 6th and August 9th, a fast is organised by antinuclear activists in the memory of the victims of the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Public transport
Underground 8 Ecole militaire
Underground 6, 8, 10 La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle
Vélib station n° 904 Ecole militaire-Avenue de la Motte-Picquet or station n° 15024 88 avenue de Suffren or station n° 7019 85 avenue Bosquet
Bus 28, 80, 82, 87, 92 Ecole militaire
Bus 80, 82 Ecole militaire ou Joffre-Suffren
Way to the next peace trail station
2 minutes

Champ de Mars

Named after the Roman god of war, the Champ de Mars is first meant to be a military field and manoeuvres took place there until the end of the 19th century. Yet it is also possible today to find peace in this place.

On the Western part of the Champ de Mars, the allée Léon Bourgeois pays tribute to this French politician who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920. He was a Freemason, a member of the Radical-Socialist Party, several times a Member of Parliament, Minister and President of the Council, and published a book entitled For a League of Nations in 1910. Considering that the Peace Conferences that had taken place in the Hague in 1899 and 1907 had not been successful, he analysed conditions for peace in his essay. In his opinion, only the reinforcement of international law and the creation of a League of Nations could allow a genuine peace to develop. In 1919 he became the first President of the League of Nations created by the Treaty of Versailles and received the Nobel Peace Prize for this mandate the following year.

Another story from another time: on October 25th, 1972, in the morning, Parisians found out that about sixty ewes were grazing on the Champ de Mars, near the Eiffel Tower. Peasants from Larzac, a plateau in Aveyron, came to Paris with them in order to protest against the expansion of a military camp. They wanted to raise awareness all over France about their non-violent fight to keep their land, threatened by the Ministry of Defence. These peasants, the famous producers of roquefort cheese, chose non-violent action, influenced by Lanza del Vasto: he went to India in 1936 to meet Gandhi and founded the Ark Community upon his return. On October 25th in the evening, France was able to watch policemen running after ewes on television! The Larzac movement then became a national movement and François Mitterrand, who was elected President in May 1981, kept his promise and cancelled the camp enlargement. Today, another similar movement is opposing a project aiming to build a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, near Nantes.

The Champ de Mars is also home to the Monument for Human Rights, built in 1989 for the Bicentenary of the French Revolution. It pays tribute to the first Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which had been adopted on August 26th, 1789 in Versailles. It is the work of Czech sculptor Ivan Theimer, who emigrated to France in 1968.

Public transport
Underground 6 Bir-Hakeim
RER line C Pont de l'Alma or Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel
Vélib station n° 7025 2 avenue Octave Creard or station n° 15071 36 rue de Suffren or station n° 15105 84 rue de la Fédération or station n° 7103 2 rue de Belgrade
Bus 69, 82, 87 Champ de Mars
Bus 42 Rapp-La Bourdonnais
Way to the next peace trail station
9 minutes

Eiffel Tower

Built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris and meant to be taken down, the Eiffel Tower is today the symbol of Paris, but also a symbol of peace.

Designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel, who had already built the iron framework of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, this 300 meter high tower was the highest building in the world at the time and remained so until 1930. However, it was controversial. Originally built to be taken down later, it eventually remained because it was used as a radio antenna.

In 1889, a famous peace man visited the tower: Gandhi himself. As he reminded his Parisian audience in 1931 at Magic City – and as he had written some years before in his autobiography -, Gandhi decided to go to Paris to visit the Universal Exhibition and the Eiffel Tower, while he was studying in London. He recalls that the tower had detractors at the time, among which Tolstoi, that Gandhi admired. The Russian writer thought that the tower was “a monument to man’s folly, and not to wisdom”; according to him, this is the work of an individual under the influence of tobacco, “for tobacco darkens the intellect and leads to castles in the air”. To Gandhi however, the Tower is “the toy of the Exhibition […] and an excellent proof of us all being children, seduced by rattles”. He behaved like a child himself: he went twice or three times up the Tower and even ate at the restaurant, just for the pleasure of saying that he had eaten very high!

On September 14th, 1999, the International Year for the Culture of Peace was launched in Paris by UNESCO. The goal of this year was to mobilise the public in order to accelerate the change from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence. On this occasion, the Eiffel Tower was made “Culture of Peace Messenger Site” by UNESCO, in the presence of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates such as Rigoberta Menchu and Shimon Peres. A plaque pays tribute to this distinction on the second floor of the Tower: it was inaugurated by the Mayor of Paris. Federico Mayor, then Director General of UNESCO, was hoping that many cities around the world would likewise choose a monument to carry a message of peace and celebrate peace and non-violence.

Public transport
Underground 6 Bir-Hakeim
RER line C Pont de l'Alma or Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel
Vélib station n° 7023, Quai Branly or station n° 7025 2 avenue Octave Creard
Bus 42, 82 Tour Eiffel
Bus 72 Pont d'Iéna
Bus 69, 87 Champ de Mars
Way to the next peace trail station
4 minutes

Quai Branly

As a newcomer in the scenery of the River Seine banks and among Parisian museums, the Quai Branly museum for non-Western arts opened in 2006.

Its inauguration took place in the presence of public figures committed to peace and tolerance such as Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1992, Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations and Claude Lévi-Strauss, a famous anthropologist who spent his life striving to show with his work that all cultures are equal.

The museum aims at spotlighting non-Western arts and the heritage of civilisations that were or are kept away from the dominant culture on our planet. To this end, it houses a collection of more than 300 000 objects from Africa, America, Asia and Oceania. The designation of “non-Western arts” was preferred to “primitive arts”, deemed too negative, as it inferred that these arts were inferior to Western arts.

The creation of the musem was called for by French President Jacques Chirac, who also advocated for the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by UNESCO in 2005. The creation of such a place is a very strong symbol coming from France; indeed, it has been a colonial power for centuries, convinced that it was necessary to “civilise” subjugated people. As a matter of fact, France did not hesitate to loot these people’s heritage and to organise humiliating colonial exhibitions in Paris. The museum aims to be a place where cultures can have a dialogue, in order to favour tolerance and openness to differences.

The museum building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel. It has the shape of a bridge, just like a bridge that would connect cultures, and is surrounded by a peaceful garden, suitable for meditation. One of its walls is covered by a vegetation wall. It is a big national museum, as well as a popular university, a media library, a theatre and a cinema. Many events and activities are organised there for various audiences. Moreover, a research centre dedicated to anthropology, archeology, history and linguistics is established there. The museum also publishes its own anthropology journal, Gradhiva.

In many ways, the museum is a proof that peace starts by recognising the legitimacy of all cultures, and serves this goal with success.

Opening hours
The Museum
Tue, Wed and Sun from 11am-7pm
Thu, Fri and Sat from 11am-9pm
The Garden
Tue, Wed and Sun from 9.15am-7.30pm
Thu, Fri and Sat from 9.15am-9.15pm
Additional information
Public transport
RER line C Pont de l'Alma
Vélib station n° 7022 3 avenue Bosquet or station n° 7023 Quai Branly
Bus 42, 63, 80, 92 Bosquet-Rapp
Way to the next peace trail station
7 minutes

Jean Giraudoux

Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944) is well known for his diplomatic career, his literary work and his reflexions on war and peace.

Giraudoux’s work comprises novels, essays, reviews and especially plays, the most famous ones being The Trojan War will not take place, Electre and Ondine. He has lived in this house during the last years of his life.

As a former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, he chose to become a diplomat. Mobilised in 1914, he was wounded twice. He was deeply marked by the war, as was his whole generation. The rise of perils in Europe, particularly with Hitler coming to power in 1933, inspired him to write The Trojan War will not take place, one of his major plays. It was performed for the first time in November 1935 by Louis Jouvet at the Théâtre de l’Athénée.

The play begins with a sentence by Andromaque: “The Trojan War will not take place”, to which Cassandra replies: “The Trojan War will take place”. Giraudoux located his story in Troy shortly after the kidnapping of Helen of Sparta by Trojan Prince Pâris. This way, he was able to express his concerns regarding a coming war in Europe that everyone could see coming but that no one could do anything against. Throughout the play, pro-wars oppose Trojan pacifists. The latter try to prevent conflict by all means. War is described as a denial of happiness and human dignity, linked to the foolishness of men instead of their courage. The play also condemns the helplessness of diplomacy, the manipulation of information by warmongers and the role played by some intellectuals. It can be seen as pessimistic, to the extent that it ends with the announcement that the Trojan War will take place, giving little hope regarding the future of European peace. However, the reader can also see this play as a call for resistance to the war mechanisms it denounces.

A few years afterwards, the Second World War took place as well. Giraudoux quit the public office and retired in January 1941. He then wrote his prophetic play, The Madwoman of Chaillot (“What is done with oil. Poverty. War. Ugliness. A miserable world”.) which was only played after his death. These two plays by Jean Giraudoux are still performed today in Paris and in many countries.

“A minute of peace is good to take.”

Public transport
RER line C Pont de l'Alma
Vélib station n° 908 quai d'Orsay, port du Gros Caillou or station n° 7022 3 avenue Bosquet
Bus 42, 63, 80, 92 Bosquet-Rapp
Way to the next peace trail station
5 minutes


Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi, as known as the Mahatma (“Great Soul”), came to Paris in 1931 and held a conference there, answering an invitation by Louise Guieysse, of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Back from the Round Table Conference on the future of India which had just ended in London, Gandhi came to Paris on December 5th, 1931. A huge crowd was waiting for him at the Gare du Nord. Gandhi had become a international media figure the previous year, while leading the Salt March. After a meeting with the Indians living in Paris at the Hotel of the Gare Saint-Lazare, he gave a lecture to 2500 people at Magic City, a popular amusement park for adults on the Quai d’Orsay. Big balls were organised there, such as transvestite balls, and political and trade unions meetings were occasionally held.

As the unchallenged leader of his people against the British coloniser, Gandhi spoke to his audience about his satyagraha campaigns, based on civil disobedience and non-violence. He encouraged people to choose non-violence as well, and not to engage in wars. “The methods I spoke about, he said, are applied by a population which represents one fifth of mankind. They can be applied on a universal basis”.

On the following day, he left Paris to Switzerland where he was to meet pacifist writer Romain Rolland, who received the Nobel Literature Prize and who was also Gandhi’s biographer. He then went back to India via Italy. India gained its independence in 1947 and Gandhi was murdered in January 1948. That year, the Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded, as the Nobel committee considered that no living person was worthy to receive it.

Gandhi has inspired numerous movements and figures of the fight for civil rights, freedom and the resistance to oppression: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and many others have reclaimed his heritage. In 2007, the UN paid tribute to him and declared that October 2nd, his date of birth, was now the International Day of Non-Violence.

Magic City was destroyed in 1942 and there is no plaque paying tribute to Gandhi’s visit to Paris in December 1931, even though an avenue was named after him in the Bois de Boulogne. In 2013, the French Parliament introduced a training to non-violent conflict resolution in the teachers’ education programme, a world first!

Public transport
RER line C Pont de l'Alma
Vélib station n° 908 quai d'Orsay port du Gros Caillou or station n° 7022 3 avenue Bosquet
Bus 42, 63, 80, 92 Bosquet-Rapp
Way to the next peace trail station
0 minutes

Flame of Liberty

A big flame adorns the surrounding of the Alma bridge, a full-scale replica of the one held by the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Inaugurated in 1989, this replica of the flame held by the Statue of Liberty in New York is a sculpture dedicated to Franco-American friendship. It was given to the City of Paris by The International Herald Tribune, which celebrated its hundredth birthday in 1987. This English-speaking newspaper was created by an Americain journalist in Paris and is still published there. It had launched an international fundraising in order to build the sculpture.

“Liberty enlightening the world”, also known as the Statue of Liberty, erected in New York in 1886, was a gift of France to the United States to celebrate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. It is a work by architect Auguste Bartholdi, in association with Gustave Eiffel. Initially a symbol of the friendship linking the two countries, it has remained in the collective imagination as a symbol of freedom, peace and Human Rights.

In 1889, to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, replicas of the original work were made. The French state bought one replica for the Luxembourg museum. In 1906, it was placed in the garden, where it has stayed until it was replaced by a copy in 2012: the original one was transfered to the Orsay museum. A second replica was first inaugurated on the United States square before being moved to the Swan Island, near the Grenelle bridge. It first looked at the Elysée, contrary to what Bartholdi wanted, as he wished the statue to look in the direction of New York. It was done in 1937, with the International Exhibition. Finally, there is a smaller replica outside the Arts et Métiers museum.

Since 1997, the Flame of the Alma bridge has also become an informal memorial for Princess Diana, who died that year in a car accident that occurred in the tunnel underneath the flame. It is a tribute to Lady Di paid by her numerous admirers, who was a politically committed figure, notably fighting for the ban of antipersonnel mines and against AIDS.

Public transport
Underground 9 Alma-Marceau
RER line C Pont de l'Alma
Vélib station n° 8046 2 avenue Marceau or station n° 8045 3 avenue Montaigne
Bus 42, 63, 72, 80, 92 Alma-Marceau
Way to the next peace trail station
5 minutes

Buddhist Garden

In this Japanese garden, designed according to the principles of zen buddhism, people can enjoy a moment of peace away from the bustling city.

The Japanese garden can be accessed through the galleries of the Buddhist Pantheon, which are an annexe of the Guimet museum. The latter was created in 1889 by Emile Guimet (1836-1918), an industrialist from Lyon who was a major collector. He wanted to open a museum devoted to religions of Egypt, classical Antiquity and Asian countries in Paris. Since 1945, the museum is solely devoted to Asian arts. Opened in 1991, the Buddhist Pantheon, as an annex of the Guimet museum, displays a part of the Buddhist statues collections brought back from Japan by Emile Guimet.

The man who calls himself Buddha and whose actual name was Siddhartha Gautama was an Indian nobleman who lived in the 6th century B.C. He was educated as a warrior and lived a very wealthy life before discovering how his fellow people suffered: he then chose to go into exile and experienced an ascetical life for 7 years. Eventually he reached what he defined as the awakening of knowledge and is considered as the first Buddha, the “Awakened”. His teachings were the foundation of the Buddhist religion, that some people compare to a philosophy. Buddhism promotes ahimsa as a virtue and a condition to reach nirvana: people should not kill or hurt others in any way.

In Japan, Buddhism is the most popular religion with shintoism. It has strongly influenced – and still does – the Japanese culture. Zen gardens are a good example of this influence: mixing vegetable and mineral elements, characterised by the presence of water, they often host tea houses, creating a perfect setting for meditation. The 450 m² garden behind the galleries of the Buddhist Pantheon houses a rare tea house which was designed by zen Japanese masters in 2001. Tea ceremonies take place in this house on a regular basis: they offer a unique opportunity to experience one of the most refined aspects of the Japanese way of life. They also allow visitors to understand how Japanese people value communion with nature and the quality of interpersonal relationships.

This station of the trail reminds us that peace is also inner peace, the peace of mind, as the Buddhist religion teaches.

Opening hours
every day from 10am to 5.45pm
closed on Tuesdays
every day from 10am to 5pm, unless there is a tea ceremony taking place
Additional information
free entrance
Public transport
Underground 9 Iéna
Underground 6 Boissière
Vélib station n° 16007, 4 rue de Longchamp or station n° 16015, 1 rue de Bassano
Bus 32, 63 Albert de Mun
Bus 82 Iéna
Bus 22, 30 Kleber-Boissière
Way to the next peace trail station
8 minutes