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Place de la Concorde, the fountains and the Obelisk

Place de la Concorde


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Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde

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Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde, which is the largest place in Paris, is situated along the Seine and separates the Tuilerie Gardens from the beginning of the Champs Elysées. It is in the 8th arrondissement, or district, of the city.

Jacques Ange Gabriel, Louis XV's architect, began construction in 1754 and completed it in 1763. It was thus called the Place Louis XV. The place was constructed to hold an equestrian statue of Louis XV that the city of Paris commissioned in 1748 from Bouchardon to offer to the king. The place formed an octagon bordered by large moats that no longer exist. In contrast to older places that were closed, la Place de la Concorde, largely open, served as an intersection as well as a decoration. The equestrian statue marks the intersection of two principal axis: the East-West axis from the perspective of the Tuilerie Gardens and the Champs Elysées, the North-South axis from the perspective of la rue Royale and the bridge created in alignment. With respect to urban accomplishments, it is the greatest achievement of the Enlightenment in the capital.

It became the Place de la Révolution and held in its center the guillotine that executed in particular Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre, and 2800 others between 1793 and 1795. It is said that the smell of blood was so strong that a herd of cattle refused to cross the place. After the Revolution it suffered a series of transformations et several changes of name: place de la Concorde, place Louis XV again, place Louis XVI, place de la Chartre, and once again place de la Concorde to symbolize the end of a troubled era and the hope of a better future.

The place today maintains the general appearance that it had in the eighteenth century. The statue of Louis XV, removed during the Revolution, was replaced by the Obelisk of Luxor given by the viceroy of Egypt, Mohamed Ali, to Louis Phillipe. The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor, was installed in 1836. Hittorf completed the decoration of the place between 1833 and 1846. The obelisk is at the center of an oval whose two centers are fountains constructed at the same period. At each corner of the octagon is found a statue that represents one of the large French cities: Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest and Rouen. The Horses of Marly, monumental statues representing a group of horses, that are found at the beginning of the Champs Elysées are now at the Louvre Museum and have been replaced by copies. The place is bordered to the north by l'Hôtel Crillon and l'Hôtel of the Navy Minister that frames the rue Royale, to the east by the Jeu de Paume and L'Orangerie of the Tuileries, to the west by the beginning of the Champs Elysés and to the south by the bridge of the Concorde built by Perronnet between 1787 and 1790. This bridge which leads to the Palais Bourbon was enlarged between 1930 and 1932.

Obelisk of Luxor

The Obelisk of Luxor, a pink granite monolith that was given to the French in 1829 by the viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet Ali. The edifice, which once marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor, is more than 3,300 years old and is decorated with hieroglyphics portraying the reigns of the pharaohs Ramses II and Ramses III. Gilded images on the pedestal portray the monumental task of transporting the monolith to Paris and erecting it at the square. Installed in 1833, the Obelisk, weighing 230 tons and standing 22.83 meters (75 ft) high in the center of the Place

The Champs Elysées

The Champs Elysées ("Elysian fields") were originally nothing but fields, until Marie de Medicis decided in 1616 to put up a long tree-lined pathway. In 1667, Le Notre extended the vista of the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees became a very fashionable place to walk. In 1724, the avenue was extended up to Chaillot hill, now the site of the Arc de Triomphe and the Etoile. 

The actual avenue of the Champs-Elysées did not become city property until 1828, when they added footpaths and fountains. They also added gas lighting at this time. 

Today, the Champs Elysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, with its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops. This special status made it the site of much growth and activity. At the very heart of Paris, it is one of the most symbolic places in the city, representative of its spirit and glory.

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All photographs are copyright "Eric Rougier /". Please, do not to use without written authorization.
The pyramid of the Louvre museum: Leoh Ming Pei, architect. "La Geode": Adrien Fainsilber, architect.
The "Grande Arche": Otto van Spreckelsen, architect. Bibliotheque Nationale de France: Dominique Perrault, architect.
Lighting of the Eiffel Tower is copyright "Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel".
Some history texts are licensed to the public under the Creative License and, or wikipedia sources
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