Place de la Concorde. Plaza in Paris, France

Place de la Concorde

Plaza in Paris, France

Place de la Concorde fountain Photo © Martyn Davis

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Place de la Concorde

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Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde. Photo by David McSpadden
Covering more than 21 acres, the Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in Paris, France. It is located in the eighth arrondissement along the River Seine (Wikipedia Article) and separates the beautiful Tuileries Gardens and the majestic Champs-Elysées. The square lies at the intersection of two major axes. The first axis is called the Voie Triomphale and extends in a perfectly straight line from The Louvre, past the Arc du Carrousel, through the Tuileries Gardens, along the Champs-Elysées and to and beyond the Arc de Triomphe. The second axis runs from the Place de la Madeleine to the Palais Bourbon (Wikipedia Article).

Originally named Place Louis XV, the octagonal square has played a significant role in the history of France. During the French Revolution it was known as Place de la Révolution. Nowadays, the square is home to a massive 3,200-year-old obelisk and numerous sculptures and statues.

The Place de la Concorde is bordered by other places of interest, such as the Embassy of the United States, the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume which used to be the indoor tennis court of Napoleon III, and the Musée de l’Orangerie.

Fountains at Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde
Fountains at Place de la Concorde. Photo by James Whitesmith

History

Construction began in 1754 and was finished in 1763. It was designed by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel (Wikipedia Article) as an octagon surrounded by moats, which are gone now. The square was beautifully decorated with fountains and statues and named Place Louis XV after the King. A large equestrian statue of King Louis XV was erected in 1763 as well. Two identical buildings were built at the northern end of the square. They are still there and are some of the greatest examples of Louis XV architecture in Paris.

A couple of decades after its completion, the Place de la Concorde was the location of one of the bloodiest conflicts in French history, the French Revolution. The revolutionaries took over the square, tore down the King Louis XV statue, and renamed the square Place de la Révolution. They replaced the statue with another one, called Liberté. Another addition was a guillotine. Between 1793 and 1795, more than 1,100 people were beheaded at the square, including King Louis XV, Marie Antoinette, Maximilien Robespierre, and Antoine Levoisier. After the revolution, the square was renamed several times: Place de la Concorde, Place Louis XV again, Place Louis XVI, Place de la Chartre, and finally, in 1830, Place de la Concorde again.

Fountain at
	Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde
Fountain at Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde. Photo by Martyn Davis

Features

The one main landmark on the Place de la Concorde is without a doubt the massive Egyptian Luxor Obelisk (Wikipedia Article) in the center. The obelisk once stood at the entrance to the Temple of Amon in Luxor and is more than 3,200 years old. It was given to France by Mehmet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, in 1829. The 75-feet, 230-ton, pink, granite obelisk contains hieroglyphs depicting the reigns of pharaohs Ramses II and Ramses III. The structure arrived in Paris in 1833 and was placed at the center of the square, flanked by fountains. The pedestal has pictures that describe the obelisk’s transportation to Paris and its installation, no easy feat at the time.

Each corner of the octagonal square has a statue representing a French city. Featured cities are Lyon, Strasbourg; Lille, Marseille; Nantes, Rouen; Brest, and Bordeaux. The statues were installed in 1836. The same year also saw the construction of a bronze fountain called La Fontaine des Mers. A second fountain, Elevation of the Maritime, was added in 1839. The fountains were influenced by the fountains of Rome.

The obelisk and the two fountains are the major highlights in the Place de la Concorde. The three structures are perfectly aligned.

Visiting Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde is centrally located and surrounded by important landmarks on all sides. When standing in the middle of the square, you can see the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower; the Champ-Elysées, La Madeleine; the Tuileries Gardens, the Palais Bourbon; and the Pont de la Concorde.

Feris Wheel -
	Place de la Concorde
Feris Wheel - Place de la Concorde. Photo by unknown

How to Get There

The square can be reached on foot from anywhere in the Paris city center. Surrounded by parks, the River Seine, and grand boulevards, it is actually a pleasure to walk there. The subway system is extensive and also makes it easy to get there from anywhere in the city. The nearest subway station is Concorde and can be reached on the M1, M8, and M12 trains.

Nearby and Similar Landmarks

There are numerous other landmarks located nearby. Examples are the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre; the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Georges Pompidou; the Musée d’Orsay, the Grand Palais; and Notre-Dame de Paris.

Other major public squares elsewhere in the world are Times Square in New York City, Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the Grand Place in Brussels, Piazza Navona in Rome; Liberty Square in Taipei, Federation Square in Melbourne; and Plaza de Oriente in Madrid.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Dec 22, 2014

Pictures of Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde. Photo by unknown

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