One of the most beautiful places in Paris is also the least photogenic of them all.
A wide place by the river, flanked by wonderful palaces, no matter from where you look at it, becomes a plantation of cars.
The geometry, the beautiful gardens, the sights of the several monuments that can be seen, close by, or several kilometers distant, all vanish behind the always rushing lines of cars. Unless you dedicate a special attention to details (and the obelisk invites you to), the square risks to be a discreet passage in your visit.
The Place de la Concorde (Dutch: Eendrachtsplein) is a historical square in Paris's 8th arrondissement of the city center. It covers more than 8 hectares.
Architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel designed the square in 1763 in the form of an open octagon. It was then named after French King Louis XV. His statue stood in the middle. During the French Revolution, the square was renamed Place de la Revolution and the statue of Louis XV was destroyed. Instead, a guillotine on the square. The image of the king was replaced by a statue of Freedom.
In two and a half years here were 1119 executions, including that of King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette and the revolutionary leaders Danton and Robespierre. After the Revolution, the square in an atmosphere of reconciliation repented by revolutionaries in 1795 and renamed Place de la Concorde.
The square in the eyes of the French governments difficult to establish, what was now the middle of this big empty square stand? What could the revolution and the murder of the king to forget?
In 1836 they found a solution and got the square even more grandeur by the 23 meter high obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut in Luxor to post here. The obelisk is one of the three so-called Cleopatra's Needles and is a gift from Muhammad Ali, viceroy of Egypt. It dates from 1250 BC. and once stood for the Luxor Temple. It took two years before this 227-ton obelisk arrived in Paris. It took another three years to complete before he was right. The column is covered with hieroglyphs of the Pharaoh (Ramses II) who had built this column. The base contains beautiful drawings of the specially built boat that transported the obelisk and the manner in which the obelisk was put back upright.
This large square always gives me the same sensation: breed!
The river "disappears" and we have the sensation of being in a wider area, surrounded by wonderful buildings, where the inevitable cars seem no more than a detail. (It's hard to explain the sensation, but I tried my best)
It is impossible to miss it, with the Champs Élisées at one side, the Tuilleries in the other, Madeleine in your back, Seine and Orsai ahead...
The only odd detail - that Egyptian obelisk in the centre! No, it was not stolen, it was a gift from Egypt, but I would rather see it in Luxor.
Here, I do prefer the fountains - wonderful.
Even if you have never visited Paris, the iconic vista looking westwards down the Champs Elysees from Place de la Concorde is one that you'll instantly recognise.
Maybe it's just me, but somehow I had always assumed that the Arc de Triomphe - centrepiece of Baron Haussman's grand vision of wide boulevards radiating outwards from the Place de l'Etoile - would be at the centre of Paris, whereas in fact it is towards the western fringe of the city centre.
Personally I think that this - and Place de la Concorde at its western end - is almost too spacious and prefer the older, more cluttered parts of Paris, but that's just personal taste: there's no disputing that it is a very imposing spectacle (which I am absolutely sure was the original design intent)!
The Paris Obelix is 23 meters high and its weight is 227 ton.
It originates from Luxor in Egypt and dates from the reigning years of Ramses II (1304-1237 B.C.)
In the French Napoleon time Jean Baptiste Apollinaire Lebas got permission from the ruler of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, to transport one of the two Luxor obelix's. So, in 1831 the obelix was dug out at high Summer temperatures and shipped to Paris, where it was erected at Place de la Concorde.
This is the largest square in Paris and from here you get excellent views of Madeleine Church, Assemblee Nationale (part of the French Parliament), the Luxor Obelisk (by the place where in 1792 a guillotine was built to execute Marie Antoinette and Loius XVI), a nice fountain and a glimpse of Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Museum.
Make sure wear a pair of good walking shoes and start going towards Arc de Triomphe. You will soon be on Champs Elysees :)
As we were leaving Café Marly during my son's & my stopover in Paris last year on our way to Dublin, Ian mentioned how cool it would be to see the obelisk so he could tell his friend, Chris, about it. I told him it was just at the end of the gardens! The one from Egypt, he queried? The very same. So we meandered over to the Place de la Concorde.
In photos #2 & 3, the pictorial tells the story of how Napoleon's men brought the obelisk from Egypt to Paris, France.
All the pics of the Obelisk are Ian's handiwork.
Once known as the Place de la Revolution, the Place de la Concorde with its beautiful fountain & obelisque is now known for the gory events that took place during the Reign of Terror of the Revolution. Thousands of folks died here at the chopping block, in the area where the obelisque now stands. Royalty (Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI), nobility & the famous (Robespierre & Danton who were responsible for the Reign of Terror) all lost their heads here.
Robespierre, who was in cahoots with Danton, eventually had a falling out over politics with Danton and accused him of treason. Thankfully, many people grew tired of so many deaths and in turn called for the death of Robespierre who was almost one of the last to die here.
Ian was blown away by the fact that he could stand in one spot and see several monuments: Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Obelisque at Place de la Concorde, and the Grand Palais!
Photos: April 2003 & Feb 2006
Place De La Concorde is the largest square of the city. Here the guilotine was set for the execution of Louis XVI, Maria Antoinette and almost 3000 other people in period 1793-1795. In our days you will hardly smell the blood around although with so many cars around there a car accident is always possible… :)
The famous monument in the square is the big Ovelisque which actually a copy of the real one in Egypt (town of Theve, now known as Luxor).
There are also 8 statues that symbol the main cities of France(Bordeaux, Brest, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rouen, Strasbourg) at the corners of the square. What more you can do here? You can see the statue of Louis XV (erected in 1763 after a serious illness that didn’t kill him) and of course the Ferris Wheel, a lot of tourists like it but my opinion is that it doesn’t fits with the area between the Louvre and the Obelisque. It’s 60m high was supposed to stay there for a year after the millennium celebrations but in January 2011 was still there…
Place de la Concorde is near of Tuileries Garden that is nice for a small walk until the entrance of the Louvre
Originally laid out during the time of King Louis XV in the mid 1700's, covering 20 acres. It became known as the Place de la Revolution where the guillotine was set up causing the beheading of some 1,100 'enemies' of the revolution in 2 and a half years, including Marie Antoinette.
Later, in an effort to purge the animosity caused by those events, it was re-named Place de la Concorde and outfitted with a 3,200 year-old Egyptian obelisk and two fountains with eight statues representing French cities.
The Tuileries Gardens and l"Orangerie Museum are off its Eastern edge. Laduree and La Madeleine are a short walk to the North on Rue Royale.
It is also a focal point for several Metro and bus lines so you'll be sure to pass through it if you make use of public transportation.
One of the many focal points of the city, the Place de la Concord has been here since the middle of the 18th century and was originally designed to be surrounded by a moat. It was originally named Place Louis XV and an equestrian statue (destroyed during the revolution) of the king was centre stage of the square surrounded by statues and fountains.
It is the largest square in Paris and was the site of the dreaded guillotine during the revolution - Louis XVI, Marie Antoniette, Danton, Robespierre were all executed in the square that could accommodate the largest crowds. In 1794 alone more than 1200 people were guillotined, but by the following year it was removed.
It was renamed Place de la Concorde in 1795 as a conciliatory gesture and although throughout the 19th century it had several name changes, but it reverted at the end of the century.
The Obelisk (23 metres high) in the centre of the square was given to the French people by Egypt, arriving in 1833 having formerly marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple. It actually stands on the spot formerly occupied by the guillotine.
Place de la Concorde now commands stunning views from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe on the west/east axis (the Tulleries Palace would have blacked this until it burnt down) and the Madeleine through to Assemblee Nationale north/south, surrounded by spectacular 19th century buildings – and usually a great deal of traffic!.
Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris, is also one of the most important in all of France. It is bordered by Jardin des Tuileries, avenue des Champs-Elysées, the US embassy, Hotel de Crillon, the river Seine, rue Royale, and rue de Rivoli. The grand square was designed by the royal architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, in 1755 along the Neoclassical tastes of the time, but it was not transformed into its current form until the early 19th century, which is when the 3300 year old Egyptian obelisk from Luxor was installed. However, it was not always pretty at Place de la Concorde: during the French Revolution, many executions took place here, including none other than Marie-Antoinette's! Fortunately, in our days, the events which take place here are much less bloody...
Place de la Concorde became a focal point in 1789 when the storming of the Bastille and revoluntionary activity happened. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette along with thousands were executed by the guillotine there and in 1795 the square received its present name.
In the centre of the square there is an obelisk from Luxor and there are some 18th Century Palaces which is now the Hotel Crillon and a government department. The Place de la Concorde is adjacent the the Jardin de Tuileries (East) and Champs Elysees (West).
It's a busy intersection for traffic but look out for the beautiful fountains situated centre of the square.
The Place was designed in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagon between the Champs-Elysees to the west and the Tuileries Gardens to the east.
It's the largest square in Paris with fantastic view in any and every direction with the large Obelisk in the centre.
In 1792, during the French revolution, a guillotine was installed at the center of the square and in a couple of years more than 1100 people were beheaded here.
From the Place de la Concorde you can see the Arc de Triomphe (West), the Madeleine (North), the Tuileries (East) and, across the Seine, the Palais Bourbon (South).
Obelisk was brought from the Temple of Luxor (Egypt).
It is a 23 meters (75 ft) tall monolith.
Obelisk's Pedestal made from granite and weighs approximately 230 tons.
The Obelisk on top on a pedestal is covered with hieroglyphs picturies that recounts the special machinery and maneuvers that were used to transport it and install at the square in 1836.
The Obelisk is 3,300 years old. It was orginally part of a pair which were placed at the entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt. In 1829, the 2 obelisks were given as a gift to the French government. This one arrived in Paris in 1833, and was placed at Place de la Concorde 3 years later. The other one had to remain in Egypt as it was too difficult to be moved to France at that time. It was given back to Egypt in the 1990s.
The Obelisk is about 23 m tall and weighs a staggering 250 tons. The hieroglyphics on the column tell the story of the reign of Ramses II (see Photo 2). On the pedestal, there are diagrams depicting the machinery used to transport the Obelisk from Egypt to France (see Photo 3).