Place de la Concorde

An essential sight to see in Paris, with the obelisk, the fountains, the Marly horses and the Hôtel de Crillon, this square has played a major part in the history of France.

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In an irony of fate, this royal square was also the place where King Louis XVI was guillotined during the French Revolution. Originally called Place Royale, then Place de la Révolution in 1792, it took its present name in 1795, and has kept it, turning the page on the bloody events of the Revolution and the Terror.

From Place Royale to Place de la Révolution, close by the Hôtel Brighton

The origins of the biggest square in the capital date from 1748, when the city of Paris launched a contest between the greatest architects of the period to build a square in honour of King Louis XV, who had recovered from illness. The contest was won by the architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel. His project involved creating the square between the Tuileries Garden and the Champs-Elysées. A royal road was to start from the square, framed by two symmetrical monuments. To the right of the street was the Hôtel de la Marine and to the left, the Hôtel de la Monnaie, later replaced by the Hôtel de Crillon. The road would lead to the future Madeleine Church. At the centre of the square a sculpture of the king by Bouchardon was erected. During the French Revolution, the statue of Louis XV was destroyed and replaced by a guillotine that was used to behead the royal couple, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, and nearly 3 000 other people. 

From Place de la Révolution to Place de la Concorde 

During the reign of Louis Philippe, the square was redesigned by Jacques Hittorff: two gigantic fountains, the Fountain of the Seas and the Fountain of the Rivers, were set up, a statue representing a French city was placed on each of the eight angles of the octogonal square, and the Luxor obelisk presented to King Charles X by Egypt, the most ancient monument in Paris, which can be seen from the Hôtel Brighton. The two Marly horse sculptures were also erected at this period on either side of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. They were later replaced by copies so that they could be exhibited in the Louvre. 

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