The Tree of Cracow stood in the Palais-Royal gardens at the center of the Paris. Believed to have taken its name from the debates surrounding the War of Polish succession, the Tree of Cracow served as a meeting place for citizens. Due to the fact that newspapers containing information about public affairs were forbidden by the state under Louis XV’s regime, the tree served as a place where French citizens could go to hear nouvellistes de bouche, which is basically a gossiper (and could be thought of as an early precursor to modern-day gossip bloggers!) According to Robert Darnton, “Gossip mongers who worked oral circuits of communication were known as “nouvellistes de bouche.” When they reduced news to written anecdotes and strung the anecdotes together in manuscript “gazetins”, they graduated into the ranks of “nouvellistes à la main.” Essentially, the tree served as a coffee shop or salon where information was being exchanged.
The tree derives its name from Kraków, which is one of the oldest and the second largest of the Polish cities, serving as a cultural, economic and artistic epicenter.