This large square always gives me the same sensation: breath!
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 Tuileries 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.
This is the biggest square of Paris. Its position is strategic for tourists infact at west you find Champs Elysees, at east the Tuileries gardens where you find the Orangerie museum. At north Madeleine church and at south the Senna. In the centre of the square there is an Egyptian Obelysque of XIII century before christ.
The Obelisque is located along the Haxe historique an imaginary line that leaves from louvre and arrives at Defense Grand Arch, passing through numerous historical sites of the city.
Metro stop Concorde
On Place de la Concorde you will discover what is the essence of the monumental architecture of the most beautiful city in the world.
Go there in the evening; the traffic has decreased so that you will arrive healthy at the foot of the up lighted Obelisk. She is not alone to stand out against the sky, somewhat further stands the Tour Eiffel, the Arch du Triomphe; closer to the South the National Assembly and to the North the Hotel Crillon and the church of the Madeleine.
In the shade of the Tuileries' gardens the outlines of Le Louvre are guessed.
What a marvel the incomparable perspectives of Paris!
Furthermore there is nothing as nice on a warm summer night as to refresh near the Fountain of the Seas or the Fountain of the Rivers with their monumental statues. They are very spectacular with coloured lights and the water running at a high rate of flow.
The Place de la Concorde was less romantic in 1793 when the guillotine stood here; she was called Place de la Révolution. More than 1100 persons were executed here among which King Louis XVI, Queen Marie-Antoinette and many persons of the royal family. Also leaders of the Revolution like Danton and Robespierre were beheaded here.
The historic guillotine of the french revolution, in the centre of Concorde square, was replaced by an obelisk from Luxor, offered by the Egyptian viceroy.
With original carvings, it's suffering from pollution. The works of transfer and installation are represented in the base, with gilded images.
At the place de la Concorde, on the left corner of the rue Royale leading to La Madeleine, stands one of the prestige hotels of Paris.
It was a palace commissioned by King Louis XV in 1758 (architect Louis-François Trouard) and was acquired by the Count of Crillon one year before the revolution of 1789. It is said that Queen Marie-Antoinette came here for piano lessons. She could not imagine that she would pass under the guillotine in front of this palace.
The Palais de Crillon was confiscated by the revolution but the family Crillon got it back and sold it in 1907 to the Société du Louvre controlled by the family Taittinger who sold their interests in the group to Starwood. The Crillon hotel belongs now to Rosewood Hôtels and is closed for renovation.
Therefore I regret I can not give any comments about the confort of the rooms!
The Presidential suite (90 sqm, a minimum for me) at 3820 €/night was not free during my last stay in Paris. Ordinary rooms did cost between 550 and 700 €/night, ordinary suites between 1400 and 2200 €/night.
On the other corner is a similar palace by the same architect. This building belongs to the French Marine and houses the Etat-Major.
It's difficult to imagine now standing at Place de la Concorde with all the traffic around what was this Place de la Révolution (named so in 1792) where the guillotine stood in the years 1793-94 of the "Terreur". More than 1100 persons were executed here.
I took the way to the Place de la Concordea after a visit at the Conciergerie and the cell of Marie-Antoinette. The Queen had followed this way to the guillotine on October 16, 1793. It's a long humiliating way she was forced, hands bind in her back, to do in a dirty cart.
Louis XVI had been brought to the scaffold in a closed coach 10 months before the Queen.
King Louis XVI on Jan. 21, 1793, Marie-Antoinette on Oct. 16, 1793 and many persons of the royal family. Leaders of the Revolution like Danton and Robespierre were also beheaded here.
Actually there were more executions (1306) at the place du Trône-Renversé presently Place de la Nation.
All those who had condemned Marie-Antoinette, the prosecutors Fouqiuer, Hébert followed her on the guillotine and showed much less courage than Marie-Antoinette.
The Musée Carnavalet has a painting of the execution of Louis XVI (photo 1) and one of the Queen (photo 2).
Before these dramatic years the Place de la Concorde had been Place Louis XV with an equestrian statue of this king sculpted by Bouchardon. The only part of this bronze statue which subsisted is the right hand now in the musée Carnavalet (photo 3). In that time there was no bridge linking this square with the left bank of the Seine like now.
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 is the largest public square in Paris. It is located at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. The square was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 and was decorated with statues and fountains. At one time this square held an equestrian statue of King Louis XV. During the French Revolution this statue was torn down. The square was renamed Place de la Révolution and a guillotine was placed in the square. It was here that King Louis XVI was executed on the 21st of January 1793. Queen Marie Antoinette was also beheaded here.
Our visit was a bit more peaceful; we rode the big wheel here and enjoyed views across Paris.
The Luxor Obelisk, a 23 metre high Egyptian obelisk, can be found in the centre of this square. This obelisk was originally located at the entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt.
The most dangerous thing about Place de la Concorde these days is the constant swirl of the traffic. It was not always so. During the time of the French Revolution it was known as Place de la Révolution and public beheadings on the guillotine were the order of the day.
The 23 metre high obelisk in the centre of the Place was given to the French by the Egyptian Government in the 19th century. It formerly marked the entrance to the Luxor temple and is 3,300 years old. Not far from the obelisk at the entrance to the Jardins des Tuileries is a giant temporary Ferris wheel, 60 metres high, which I believe will be in place until February.
There is nothing as nice on a warm summer night as to refresh near the Fountain of the Seas or the Fountain of the Rivers. The two fountains (architect J-I. Hittorf), inaugurated in 1840, celebrate the river navigation (northern fountain, with seated figures representing the Rhine and the Rhone and harvests of grapes and corn) and sea transport (southern fountain, with the Mediterranean, the Ocean and fishing). Several artists realized the statues.
As these statues and decorations were made of cast iron coated with bronze paints in various shades or gilded, they had to undergo many repair and maintenance work. The paintings of the fountains already faded in 1844. Furthermore they were very much damaged during the troubled period of the "Commune". New parts were cast in 1871 and the fountains received a protection against corrosion by electrolytic copper deposit.
What we see now results from a new and complete restoration made in 2000 and the effect is very colourful especially at night with the lights and the water running with a high rate of flow.
The fountains are much appreciated as we could see from the huge limousine stopping near the fountain. The people inside were not celebrities but a group of tourists who had won some excursion in Paris.
I am probably in the minority, but I actually don't much care for Place de la Concorde. It is such a vast open space that you feel somewhat marooned as you stand at the foot of the obelisk in the middle of what is effectively one gigantic roundabout.
The obelisk is however a very special thing and is so enormous that it manages to hold its own despite the epic proportions of this vast square. It was originally erected by Rameses II in Luxor, but was part of a pair given to the French by Egypt in the 19th century. Just about every statistic associated with the obelisk is jawdropping: 3,200 years old, 23m high and 250 tonnes in weight.
The obelisk was installed on the spot where the guillotine used to stand during the Reign of Terror, over which period the square was aptly known as 'Place de la Revolution'. After things calmed down, the square was renamed 'Place de la Concorde' - the 'Square of Peace' - in a gesture of reconciliation.
The phallic imagery of any obelisk is unescapable and apparently on 1 December 1993, a group of AIDS activists exploited this by encasing the obelisk in a huge pink condom!
One day, walking randomly by La Place de la Concorde, suddenly a mirage appeared in front of our eyes, two resplendent red Ferraris and a yellow Lamborghini parked beside the sidewalk coming from Les Jardins des Tuileries side.
A crowd of people were swirling around these beautiful works of art on wheels murmuring his irrepressible admiration by the unexpected spectacle. After a few minutes we understood the situation, those cars were for rent, and if you take the chance then your adventure starts inexorably with a huge grim guardian seated beside you, of course.
The tariff? 89 euros for a twenty minutes ride, not too much time for the money, but enough to proudly tell to your friends at your town that you were driving an italian supercar roaring the avenues of Paris.
Not a minor fact, don't you?