At the end of the Champs-Elysées, you will find Place de la Concorde. It is the largest square in Paris and is in front of the Paris City Hall. In 1753, a competition was held to decide what to do with the space but King Louis XV didn’t like any of the designs. So he had Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the king’s chief architect combine ideas from different plans to make one complete one. Work began in 1758 but took 24 years to complete.
On May 30, 1770, a celebration was held for the wedding of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The ball was interrupted by a stray firework that started a fire and a massive stampede causing deaths and injuries to many of the partygoers.
Place de la Concorde is best known for being an execution site during the French Revolution. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette meet their end at a guillotine set up in the square. Over the six years of the French Revolution, 1,119 of the 2,498 executions were held in this square. This included Charlotte Corday who played a part in the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, Madame du Barry who was the last mistress of King Louis XV, and Maximilien Robespierre who was the architect of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. During the time the square was renamed Place de la Révolution and the equestrian statue of Louis XV was pulled down and sent off to be melted into cannonballs.
As time went on, the square changed its name to Place de la Concorde in 1795. Concorde means reconciliation and agreement.
In the middle there now stands a 3,300-year-old Egyptian obelisk that was placed there in October of 1836. Given to France in 1831 by the viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali (not the famous boxer), these obelisks came out of the Luxor Temple in Thebes.
Through the years, more details have been added such as fountains, streetlamps, and statues to make the square what it is today.
This square also serves as the entrance to the Tuileries Gardens.
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