Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris and one of the most centrally located, best known for its monumental fountains and the famous Luxor obelisk.
The Concorde square, built from plans by Ange-Jacques Gabriel (in 1755), was originally “Place Louis XV“, named after the ruler of France at the time.
Next to the square, two high-profile stone buildings (separated by Rue Royale) were constructed at the same time to the Concorde square…
…and of these two buildings, one was (and still is) Hõtel de Crillon luxury hotel (www.crillon.com). Crillon was famously the place, where Queen Marie Antoinette spent her afternoons relaxing and taking piano lessons. The other building now houses the French Maritime Ministry.
PHOTO: Concorde square, as seen from Hôtel de Crillon entrance, towards Palais Bourbon (where the French Assemblée Nationale convenes).
PHOTO: The highlight of the square has been, since 1836, a 23 meter (25 yard) tall (with its base) obelisk. The obelisk was a gift to France (in 1829) by the Vice Ottoman King of Egypt, Mehmet Ali. Originally, the obelisk had been entrance structures to the Luxor temple, in Egypt. King Louis-Philippe placed the obelisk at the center of the Concorde square, at a location where, during the French Revolution forty years earlier, there had been a guillotine.
PHOTO: One of the two fountains within the Concorde square, “Fontaines de la Concorde”, both designed by Jacques Ignace Hittorff. The pictured (southern) fountain is allegorical to French maritime commerce, whereas the northern fountain is allegorical to navigation and commerce within the rivers in France.
The Concorde square played a central role in the French Revolution (1789–1799), when it was temporarily renamed as “Place de la Révolution“.
The revolutionary leadership placed a guillotine at the center of the square, with its first victim being King Louis XVI in 1793.
The exact location where that guillotine was located, there now is the famous obelisk, originally one of the entrance structures at Luxor temple in Egypt…with hieroglyphs telling a tale of Pharaoh Ramses II.
“Fontaines de la Concorde”, the square fountains, symbolize the magnificence of the French rivers and maritime power.
The theme for the fountains was partially chosen due the Maritime ministry buildings adjacent to the square, but also partly because of the nearby Seine river.
Hittorff, the fountain’s designer, spent 2 years of his life studying Italian fountain design and Italian architecture…
…and the Italian influence is especially evident in how the fountains have been placed, and in how they have been shaped.
Place de la Concorde
Address: 10, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France