Jul 11, 2009

The Place de la Concorde, the largest place in Paris(86,400 square metres), situated along the Seine and separates the Tuilerie Gardens from the beginning of the Champs Elysées, 8th arrondissement.Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755. Filled with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon.

The west of the Place is Champs-Élysées.The north end, two identical stone buildings separated by the rue Royale,the eastern one is the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building was made into the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon (which still operates today) where Marie Antoinette spent afternoons relaxing and taking piano lessons.The Rue Royale leads to the Église de la Madeleine. The Embassy of the United States is located in the corner of the Place at the intersection of Avenue Gabriel and Rue Boissy d'Anglas.The east of the Place are the Tuileries Gardens. The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie, both in the Tuileries Gardens, border the Place
The northeastern corner of the Place is the western end of the Rue de Rivoli. The south of the Place is the River Seine, crossed by the Pont de la Concorde, built by Jean-Rodolphe Perronnet.At each corner of the octagon formed by the Place are statues, created by Jacques Ignace Hittorff, representing the French cities of Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest and Rouen.

The center of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II.The Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mehmet Ali, offered the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk to France in 1829. The obelisk arrived in Paris on December 21, 1833. Three years later, on October 25, 1836, King Louis-Philippe had it placed in the center of Place de la Concorde, where a guillotine used to stand during the Revolution.

Imagining the guillotine, made me feel sad.

Station on Paris metro: Concorde