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Paris - Ile De France

Place de la Concorde - Obelisk - History

This page was updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at: 4:42 pm

Place de la Concorde, a republican venue

The Place de la Concorde boasts a prime location. It indeed directly links the Champs-Elysées and Tuileries gardens.

The Pont de la Concorde (bridge) connects it to the National Assembly and the Rue Royale to the Madeleine Church.

It is therefore a perfect venue for major official events such as Bastille Day celebrations.

An official tribune is then erected in its centre. This is where the President of the Republic, members of his government and French and foreign personalities and guests attend the military parade on 14th July.

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 and 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 functioned 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 to create the 6.5-hectare Place de la Concorde, Paris' largest square!

Hittorff built 8 corner pavilions and topped them with statues represent the major cities of France - Bordeaux, Brest, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rouen and Strasbourg.

He lit the square with 20 golden candelabras and built two fountains - inspired by those of Saint-Peter's Square in Rome - in the central reservation.

He retained the Chevaux de Marly - Horse Tamers sculpted by Coustou that frame the entrance to Champs-Elysées. However, these original sculptures were transferred to the Louvre Museum during the 20th century to protect them from pollution and have been replaced with 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.

A portico of 12 Corinthian columns adorn the each facade which are framed with small pavilions with triangular pediments.

No2 has been home to the Ministry of Navy 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.

Hôtel Crillon

The Hôtel of the Duke of Crillon at no10 has been converted into a luxury hotel in 1907.

It closed in 2012 for renovation that spread over a couple of years. The state of its outdated interior and equipment, facades and roofs indeed resulted in a drop in its turnover of 40% in 2010.

The inauguration of a series of prestigious luxury hotels such as the Mandarin, Peninsula, Shangri-La indeed forced the old traditional palaces (Hôtel Crillon, Meurice, George V and Plaza Athenée) to be updated to the standards of the day and to the requirements of wealthy clients.

Te Hôtel Crillon was obviously restored in the respect of its 18th century Neoclassical architecture, yet was upgraded to the standard of a palace (luxurious rooms, swimming pool and spa etc...)

The 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

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