Paris is known for its unique fashion, culture and romantic views. May be that’s the reason it is called the “City of Romance”. It is home to Disneyland which receives 15 million visitors each year and who can forget its landmark, the Eiffel Tower, a structure that was the world’s tallest building until 1930. There is a place of great heritage, a reforming place for all sorts of street artists and a place for taking pictures with the Eiffel Tower on the horizon. Yes, you guessed it right. Place de la Concorde, located between the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees, is the largest square in Paris covering area of 84,000 square metres. The biggest attraction here are two fountains called ‘La Fontaine des Mers’ and ‘Elevation of the Maritime’ and visitors keep photographing them over and over again.
In 1792, During the French revolution, the statue of King Louis XV was replaced by another large statue called ‘Liberte’ which means freedom and the square called Place de la Revolution. A guillotine was installed at the center of the square and in a time span of only a couple of years, 1119 people were beheaded here. Amongst them were many famous people like King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and revolutionary Robespierre. After the revolution, the square was renamed several times until 1830, when it was given its current name, ‘Place de la Concorde’.
How to get here?
Place de la Concorde has its own metro station. You can catch metro lines 1,8 or 12 to station Concorde. You also have option to walk up from the Louvre and the Tulleries Gardens or down from the Champs-Elysees.
The Luxor Obelisk
The Luxor Obelisk is the oldest piece of art in Paris. It is over 3000 years old. It weighs 230 tons and standing 22.83 metres high in the center of the place. It is made of red granite and it has hieroglyphics from the Egyptians that depicts the rule of Ramses II and Ramses III. It simply means that Luxor Obelisk is an important monument for the world, not just Paris. The Khedive of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha gifted two obelisks that stood at the entrance of the Luxor temple in France in 1829. The first of the two obelisks departed from Alexandria in 1833 and in 1836 King Louis Philippe had it placed in the center of the Place de la Concorde.
There is a pyramidion placed on the head of Obelisk. The pyramidion is made of bronze and gold leaf and is three metres high. Since 1937, the Luxor Obelisk is classified as a historic monument and the pyramidion was placed under the presidency of Jacques Chirac as a part of the celebration to mark Franco Egyptian relations. However, the Place de la Concorde has a lot more to see than just the obelisk.
The two fountains in the Place de la Concorde have been the most famous of the fountains built during the time of Louis-Philippe and came to symbolize the fountains in Paris. They were designed by Jacques-Igance Hittorff, a student of the neoclassical designer Charles Percier at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The German born Hittorff had served as the official Architect of Festivals and Ceremonies for the deposed king and had spent two years studying the architecture and fountains of Italy.
‘La Fontaine des Mers’ Fountain is dedicated to the rivers Rhone and Rhine, with a nod towards industry and agriculture while ‘Elevation of the Maritime’ Fountain was built with the seas in mind – the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Both fountains display the same structure of a stone basin with two tiered circular Vasquez that support various figures, such as fish or allegorical statues, with spout water out to the basin below.
La Grande Roue
The La Grande Roue de Paris is a 60 meter high Ferris wheel that entertains both adults and kids. It was erected in Place de la Concorde in 1999 and opened for public operations in December of that year. Very nicely lighted in bleu shades like all the Champs-Elysees, the Grande Roue is a magical place to take the kids and enjoy a different perspective on the City of Romance.
It was built for the millennium celebrations and was supposed to stay at the Place de la Concorde for only one year. The owner Marcel Campion refused a judge’s order to have the wheel taken down and the wheel was dismantled only in 2002. It again came back to Paris in 2007 and is supposed to illuminate the Place de la Concorde and Tuileries for the end of the year festivities every year. It is opened everyday from 11 am to 12 pm and costs just $14 for adults and $7 for children.
Tuileries Garden is one of Paris’s most visited gardens because of its central location between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. It is one of those parks where you can grab a chair for free and sit wherever you like. It also features several fountains, two large basins, numerous sculptures and two museums, the ‘Galerie Nationale du Jey de Paume’ and the ‘Musee de I’Orangerie’, which displays Claude Monet’s large water lily paintings.
There are many other attractions in Paris but if you don’t have a very tight schedule then you got to stop and Place de la Concorde as it is beautiful and historically significant.