Named in 1893 after Léon Gambetta, a republican who was elected for Belleville in 1869 and who was in Spain during the repression of the 1871 Paris Commune, in 1870 it had previously been called the Place des Pyrénées and during the Commune, the Place de Puebla. On March 15 the canons in the Place des Vosges were moved there, and the square saw violent fighting during the ‘Bloody week’ of the Commune.
The Town Hall at No. 6 was the first in Paris to have a Communard elected to its Municipal Council before the June 21 1880 amnesty was announced. The cobbler, Alexis Trinquet, who had made an unsuccessful escape bid from exile in New Caledonia with Jean Allemane on November 23 1876, was elected on June 20 1880.
Jean Allemane married the seamstress, Adèle Quénot, ten years younger than him with whom they already had two children, at the Town Hall on May 15 1880, one week after he was finally amnestied.
The Square is currently (from 2019) undergoing a major transformation. Unfortunately it is only designed to increase the space for pedestrians by 60%, unlike some of the other six squares being redesigned. And the old Wallace Fountain that features in early 20th century photographs will not be restored.