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La Concorde

La Concorde

The Concorde Square was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a octagon between the Champs Elysees and the Tuileries Gardens. Decorated with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. This square in Paris has a bloody history with more than 1300 people having been beheaded within its boundaries. Among them : Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, Danton and, eventually, the architect of The Terror Robespierre himself.
Originally Place Louis XV, it was changed by revolutionaries to Place de la Revolution. Later governments thought it wise to rename the area in the hope of lessening its darker history.
Two magnificent identical stone buildings were constructed, these structures remain among the best examples of Louis XV style architecture. Initially, the eastern building served as the French Naval Ministry. The famous luxury Hôtel de Crillon, which currently occupies the building, took its name from its previous owners.
Just at the entrance to the Place de la Concorde, on either side of the Champs Elysees, are the Chevaux de Marly. There are eight statues representing the eight major cities of France; Brest and Rouen (in the northwest), Lille and Strasbourg (to the northeast) Lyon and Marseille (on the Quai des Tuileries) and Bordeaux and Nantes (in the southwest). The statue representing Strasbourg was modelled by the actress Juliette Drouet, who was a muse of Victor Hugo. You can find these statues on the four corners of the square.

The obelisk
This is one of the pair of obelisks, orginally built in Luxor, Egypt. This was transported to Paris in 19th Century. It is reported that Josephine's parting words to Napoleon before he began his failed conquest of Egypt in 1798 were: "Good-by! If you go to Thebes, do send me a little obelisk." Whether or not the story is true, Napoleon's expedition first left France desiring an obelisk of its own, though it wasn't until May 1830 that the then Egyptian viceroy, Mohammed Ali, decided to give it to Charles X of France. In Oct. 25, 1833. The obelisk is re-erected at the center of the Place where the statue of Louis XV had once stood.