Place de la Concorde - History and Facts | History Hit

Place de la Concorde

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Place de la Concorde was where King Louis XVI and many others were executed during the French Revolution.

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About Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde in Paris was the site where King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793.

Place de la Concorde history

During the French Revolution, Place de la Concorde was named Place de la Revolution. Prior to this, it had been known as Place Louis XV and had contained a statue of the monarch. However, when the revolution took hold, this monument was taken down and replaced with the guillotine.

Place de la Concorde became the focus of the executions of France’s elite during the Reign of Terror, a period of exceptional violence during the French Revolution. Over 1,300 people were executed at Place de la Concorde, amongst them Louis XVI’s wife Marie Antoinette and even leading revolutionary figures such as Danton and Robespierre.

In the decades following the chaos of the French Revolution, the square acquired its current appearance between 1836 and 1840, when the imposing 3,300-year-old Egyptian obelisk was placed in its center, by orders of King Louis Philippe, in 1836. The obelisk was sent by the Egyptian government to France in 1829 as a gift. Decorated with hieroglyphics that allude to the reign of pharaoh, Ramesses II, the obelisk had once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple.

In order to immortalize the intrepid and complicated task of transporting the obelisk – due to the technical limitations back in the day – on the pedestal are carved diagrams explaining the machinery that had to be used for the transportation from Egypt to France. Since the obelisk was missing its original cap – believed to be stolen in the 6th century BC – the French government added a gold pyramid cap to the top of the obelisk in 1998.

Also in the 1830s, the square was adorned with two elegant fountains that were designed by Jacques Hittorff, a student at the famous, École des Beaux-Arts.

Place de la Concorde today

Located in the 8th arrondissement, Place de la Concorde is the biggest square in Paris, measuring over 8 hectares! Today, it is the the finish line for the annual Tour de France bicycle race, the winner of which gets to stay in the illustrious Hotel Crillon that sits on the north side of the square.

During the festive season at the end of the year, don’t miss the chance to have a go on the Concorde’s big wheel. It offers untrammelled views of the Champs-Élysées, the Tuileries Garden, the Louvre Palace and the Christmas illuminations!

Getting to Place de la Concorde

Located at the bottom of one of the world’s most famous avenues, the Champs-Élysées, this immense square at the heart of the capital is accessible via the Concorde Metro station.

You will find the Place de la Concorde in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, north of the Seine River. The Seine Bridge “Pont de la Concorde” as well as Rue Royale, Rue de Rivoli, and Cours la Reine all lead into (and end at) the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The postal code of the Place de la Concorde is 75018.

Because it is a public plaza there are no designated opening hours and you do not need to book tickets in order to visit the site.

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