In the Middle Ages, the market hall and shops occupied the entire square, which became the economic centre of the town of Poitiers and in the 12th century took the name of the "place du Marché Vieil" (Old Market Square).
In the 17th century, the economic function, without disappearing completely, was replaced by a military function. The square was home to the statue of Louis XIV and became "Place Royale". The Revolution renamed the place "Place Nationale" after the destruction of the statue, but it became "Place Royale" again during the Restoration.
In 1830, it was named "Place d'Armes" to recall the military parades held there. The Poitevins still give it this name today, as it has been renamed Place du Maréchal-Leclerc since 1948. Marshal Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque attended part of his schooling in Poitiers, at the Lycée des Feuillants.
Together with the church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande, it is the symbol of Poitevin's identity and is the focal point of the Cœur d'Agglo project, which links the Prefecture to the Town Hall and then to the Puygarreau gardens.