Paris - Ile De France
Place de la Concorde - Obelisk - History
Place de la Concorde, a republican venue
The Place de la Concorde boasts a prime location.
It is therefore a perfect venue for major official events such as Bastille Day celebrations.
An official tribune is then erected in its center.
This is where the President of the Republic, members of his government and important French and foreign guests attend the military parade on 14th July.
The Place de la Concorde was created in 1772; it was then called Place Louis XV.
Place Louis XV
The Place de la Concorde was created in 1772 and was called Place Louis XV.
The Champs-Elysées were then a muddy path that ran through bushes and thickets!
The aldermen of Paris funded the creation of the square in order to pay tribute to Louis XV.
They commissioned Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the king's architect, for the design of the octagonal square.
They also commissioned the equestrian statue of Louis XV that marked its centre.
A 20m wide moat, spanned by six small stone bridges and protected by a stone balustrade, encompassed the square.
A small stone pavilion stood in each of the 8 corners.
Finally, 4 huge platforms were planted with lawns and various trees, shrubs and flowerbeds.
Place de la Révolution
The revolutionaries obviously lacked imagination when they renamed it Place de la Révolution in 1792!
They also melt the equestrian statue of Louis XV and replaced it with a statue of 'Liberty'.
More tragically, the sordid guillotine was installed on the square until the summer of 1795.
Louis XVI was executed on Place de la Révolution on January 21, 1793.
Queen Marie-Antoinette on October 16th of the same year...
So were hundreds of others, wealthy, poor, famous or unknown, in the name of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity...
The various governments that followed renamed the square.
The Place de la Révolution shortly became Place de la Concorde then once more as Place Louis XV.
It was renamed Place Louis XVI and definitively Place de la Concorde in 1830!
Hittorff rebuilt the Place de la Concorde
In the 1850s, the architect Hittorff gave the Place de la Concorde its current layout and appearance.
He filled in the moats were filled and enlarged the square.
As a result, the 6.5-hectare Place de la Concorde is today the largest Parisian square!
Hittorff built 8 corner pavilions around the square.
These statues represent the major cities of France - Bordeaux, Brest, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rouen and Strasbourg.
He installed 20 golden candelabras in order to lit the square.
He retained the Chevaux de Marly- Horse Tamers sculpted by Coustou that were placed by the entrance to Champs-Elysées in 1794.
The original sculptures were transferred to the Louvre Museum at a much later date in order to protect them from pollution.
The current statues are therefore superb replicas.
Obelisk of Luxor
The 23m high Obelisk comes from the Temple of Ramses II in Luxor and is the oldest monument in Paris.
Viceroy of Egypt Mehemet Ali gave it to Louis-Philippe in 1831.
It was erected in the square's central reservation on October 25, 1836.
Grabiel's palaces on Place de la Concorde
Gabriel built the twin buildings that frame the entrance to Rue Royale in 1775.
Small pavilions with splendid triangular pediments frame these buildings.
A portico composed of 12 Corinthian columns adorn the facades.
The Ministry of Navy has occupied no2 since 1789.
The adjacent building is divided into four mansions.
The Hôtel de Coislin is located at no4.
The Hôtel du Plessis-Bellière, at no6, was attached to no8 in 1901.
Both have been home to the Automobile Club de France since.
The Hôtel of the Duke of Crillon at no10 became a luxury hotel in 1907.
The hotel was closed in 2012 for couple of years in order to be renovated.
The state of its outdated interior and equipment, facades and roofs indeed resulted in a drop in its turnover of 40% in 2010.
The Hôtel Crillon follows in the footsteps of the Meurice, George V and Plaza Athenée, which were all beautifully restored.
The inauguration of a series of prestigious luxury hotels such as the Mandarin, Peninsula, Shangri-La indeed forced the old traditional palaces to be updated to the standards of the day and to the requirements of wealthy clients.
The renovations have of course preserved the 18th century Neoclassical architecture.
The whole building has, however, been upgraded to the standard of a palace (luxurious rooms, swimming pool and spa etc...)
The astronomical cost of this renovation work amounted to €70 to €100million.
It will be eventually covered by the average price for a standard room ( €750 to €1000 per night).
The new owner of the Crillon, one of the members of the Saudi royal family, funded this renovation.
The U.S. Embassy is located on the opposite pavement, at the junction of Avenue Gabriel and Rue Boissy d'Anglas.
Directions: 8th District
Metro: Concorde on Lines 1, 8, 12
Coordinates Place de la Concorde: Lat 48.865633 - Long 2.321236