Saturday, June 14, 2008

Place De La Concorde

It's hard to tell that this is the place where more than 1,300 heads rolled in the years after the French Revolution. These days, it's a huge traffic circle, or square, that joins the rue de Rivoli, the rue Royale, and the avenue des Champs Elysées to the left bank via the Pont de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde, looking north toward the rue Royale.

The place was orginally constructed in the mid-eighteenth century to commemorate king Louis XV and included an equestrian statue of the monarch at its center. The statue was pulled down in 1792 and the place became known as Place de la Révolution. Not long after, the guillotine went up.

The place was renamed Condorde in 1795 as part of the nation's attempt to move forward after the bloody revolution. Today the center of the place is adorned with two monumental fountains and a three thousand year old obelisk, a gift from the Egyptians, that was transported from Luxor in the nineteenth century.

I don't know which is more thrilling: driving around the place or negotiating it on foot!


  1. The Champs-Elysées end of the place has 2 horses. Those are the Chevaux de Marly and were originally located approx 20km from Paris in Marly-le-Roi where Louis XIV would retreat at yet another chateau. The chateau was destroyed by, you guessed it, the Revolution activity but the horses remained. 2 of them stand guard at the entrance to the Place de la Concorde and 2 of them are in the Louvre in the Cour Marly specifically. If you ever get the occasion to visit Marly-le-Roi, you'll find a stone foundation only that marks the outline of the chateau.

  2. rachael, I've never noticed those! Next time I'll take a closer look.


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