Short description

The Concord Square, with 8.64 hectares, is the largest square in Paris.

The Concord Square is located a few hundred meters from the Louvre, at the bottom of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and adjoins the Jardin de Tuilerie. It is distinguished today by the Luxor Obelisk in its center, 3,300 years old (13th century with J-C) and erected in 1836 on Concord Square - See our article "Luxor Obelisk, Place de la Concorde, a present from Egypt".
In the beginning of the 18th century, it was only an esplanade surrounded by a ditch and two large open sewers. Later (1770), it was the scene of a dramatic accident where 133 people died as a result of the panic caused by a fire stated by a falling rocket. It was in honor of the wedding of the Dauphin (the future Louis XVI) and the Archduchess Marie-Antoinette of Austria.
A few years later, during the Revolution, the Concord Square was one of the bloodiest places: 1 119 people died there out of the 2 498 guillotined in Paris. Among them, king Louis XVI and the queen Marie-Antoinette died on Concord Square.
Between 1836 and 1846, the square was transformed by the architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff. He added two monumental fountains (which had the audacity to be made of cast iron) on either side of the Luxor obelisk and surrounded the square with lampposts and rostral columns. They also evoke the emblem of the City of Paris. Architecture surrounding the Concord Square, the monumental fountains and The statues add to its splendor.

Localisation
Open hours

No closing except maintenance

Access
  • Metro - Lines 1, 8, 12 (Concorde Station)
  • RER - Line (Charles de Gaulle - Étoile station)
  • Bus - Lines 42, 45, 52, 72, 73, 84, 94 + Open Tour + Night service: Noctilien Bus n° 11 and 24

Parking :

  • Jardin des Tuileries and Carrousel (access by quai des Tuileries or rue de Rivoli)
  • Rue du Mont-Thabor, rue des Pyramides

Vélib' stations :

  • 119, rue de Lille
  • 2, rue Cambon
Address

Place de la Concorde Quartier des Champs Elysées
75008 PARIS 

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 56″ N 2° 19′ 16″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86597 2.32097
Full description

The Concord Square is located a few hundred meters from the Louvre, at the bottom of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and adjoins the Jardin de Tuilerie. It is distinguished today by the Luxor Obelisk in its center, 3,300 years old (13th century with J-C) and erected in 1836 on Concord Square - See our article "Luxor Obelisk, Place de la Concorde, a present from Egypt". The prestigious hotels that border it as well as the two monumental fountains (Fountain of the Seas and Fountain of the Rivers) add to its splendor. Created in 1772, the Place de la Concorde was first known for being one of the places of execution during the French Revolution. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (among others) were guillotined there. Architects: Ange-Jacques Gabriel and Edme Bouchardon (original sculptor of the equestrian statue of Louis XV)

Concord Square: an exceptional location in Paris

The Concord Square, with 8.64 hectares, is the largest square in Paris. The name of the Place-de-la-Concorde would have been chosen by the Directory in place during the First French Republic, from October 26, 1795 (4 Brumaire Year IV) to November 9, 1799 (18 Brumaire Year VIII). This choice was to mark the reconciliation of the French after the excesses of the Terror. It was between 1836 and 1846 that the architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorf shaped the square to become the one we know today. Close to the center of Paris, the Place-de-la-Concorde occupies a privileged location, as it punctuates two major axes:

The beginning, a painful history, in connection with the future Louis XVI

In the XVIIIth century, it was only an esplanade surrounded by a ditch and two large open sewers. Architect Gabriel, director of the Academy in his capacity as First Architect to the King, was charged with establishing a project borrowing the best ideas from the competitors. This project was accepted in 1755 and the statue of Louis XV was inaugurated on June 20, 1763. On May 30, 1770, the square was the scene of a dramatic event: while a fireworks display was being fired in honor of the wedding of the Dauphin (the future Louis XVI) and the Archduchess Marie-Antoinette of Austria, 133 people were trampled and suffocated in a panic caused by a fire triggered by a falling rocket. It is only in 1772 that the Place Louis XV (future Place de la Concorde) is completed. An octagonal enclosure, provided with a balustrade, bordered by ditches of 20 meters wide and surrounded by sentry boxes, was created to surround this vast space. Only the north side of the square was built, which gave a clear view of the Seine.

The Revolution of sinister memory

On July 11, 1789, the crowd looted the arms of the Garde-meuble (located in the northeast building) to "go to the Bastille" -now the Hotel-de-la-Marine. On October 6, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, and the dauphin (future Louis XVII who will never reign) brought back from Versailles to Paris by the people, make their entry in the Tuileries palace (Destroyed on May 23, 1871, by other revolutionaries: the Communards!) by crossing the place Louis-XV. The place is renamed "de la Révolution". The guillotine was temporarily installed on the square in October 1792. On January 21 Louis XVI was executed there. After being dismantled, the guillotine was again installed on the Place de la Concorde from May 11, 1793, until June 9, 1794. Of the 2,498 people guillotined in Paris during the Revolution, 1,119 were guillotined on the Place de la Révolution. In addition to Louis XVI, the names of Queen Marie-Antoinette (October 16, 1793), Charlotte Corday, Madame Roland, the Girondins, Philippe d'Orléans, Madame Du Barry, (a dernière favorite du roi de France Louis XV), Danton, Malesherbes and the chemist Lavoisier.... The guillotine transferred to the Place du Trône-renversé (now the Place de la Nation) returned to the Place de la Révolution for the execution of Maximilien de Robespierre and his friends (10 Thermidor Year II - 28 July 1794) that sent thousands of people to their deaths.

The 19th century and the Concord Square

Louis XVIII (died in 1824) planned to build a monument in the center of the square in memory of his brother Louis XVI who was guillotined. The revolution of 1830 made this project disappear. In 1831, the viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet Ali, offered to France the two obelisks that marked the entrance of the Temple of Luxor in Thebes. Only the first of them will be transported to France, will arrive in Paris on December 21, 1833, and will be erected on October 25, 1836, on Concord Square. Between 1836 and 1846, the square was transformed by the architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff who kept the principle imagined by Gabriel. He added two monumental fountains (which had the audacity to be made of cast iron) on either side of the Luxor obelisk and surrounded the square with lampposts and rostral columns. The rostral columns bear the prows of ships, which also evoke the emblem of the City of Paris. Allegorical statues of eight French cities outline the octagon imagined by Gabriel. In 1854, the ditches, which Hittorff had kept, were filled in to better adapt the square to traffic.

Architecture surrounding the Concord Square

At the north end (Rue Royale side), two large identical stone buildings close the perspective. Divided by Rue Royale, these structures are among the best examples of 18th-century architecture. The facades were designed by Gabriel and erected between 1766 and 1775. The building on the east side of the rue Royale, commonly called the Hôtel de la Marine, was built to Gabriel's plans under the direction of Jacques-Germain Soufflot. The Hôtel de la Marine, located on the Concord Square, has been undergoing restoration for 4 years by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. It will be open to visitors in June 2021.

The building located west of the Rue Royale was originally intended to house the "new Mint" whose construction had been planned since 1768. However, this location was eventually deemed too far from the business district. The land behind the western colonnade was then divided into four lots that were sold to private individuals. One of these hotels, at the corner of rue Boissy-d'Anglas, was bought in 1907 by the Société des Grands Magasins du Louvre and transformed into the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon.

At the northeast corner, on the rue Saint-Florentin side, the Hôtel de Talleyrand or Hôtel de Saint-Florentin is currently the headquarters of the United States Embassy. To the northwest of the square, on the rue Boissy-d'Anglas side, stood until 1775 the Dépôt des marbres de la Couronne, then the Hôtel Grimod de La Reynière, similar to the Hôtel de Saint-Florentin, disfigured by successive additions. It was destroyed and replaced by a neo-classical pastiche built between 1931 and 1933 to house the United States Embassy. This hotel, which matches well to the Hôtel de Talleyrand, re-establishes the symmetry of the north side of the square as Gabriel had originally envisaged it.

It should be noted that the hotels on the Concord Square retain the oldest numbering in Paris. They were put in place in 1805, following the decree of February 4, 1805, by which the prefect Frochot set up street numbers in Paris Intramuros.

The statues of the Concord Square

The horses of Marly by Guillaume Coustou that decorated the watering hole of the castle of Marly (about 30 km from Paris) were placed at the entrance of the avenue des Champs-Élysées in 1795.

At each corner of the octagonal square is a statue representing a French city: Brest, Rouen, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille and Strasbourg.

It is said that the model of Strasbourg was Juliette Drouet who had been the mistress of the sculptor James Pradier before becoming the mistress of Victor Hugo. The statue of Strasbourg was long veiled with a black crepe and flowers as a reminder of the mourning of Alsace-Lorraine, annexed by the German Empire in 1871.

The monumental fountains of the Concord Square

Between 1836 and 1846, the Concord Square underwent its last major transformation thanks to the architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff. The two fountains of the Concord Square, located on either side of the obelisk, are indeed the work of the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff - the Fountain of the Seas placed on the south side (Seine side) and the Fountain of the Rivers on the north side (rue Royale side). To go to the foot of the Obelisk in the center of Concord Square, it is imperative to use the crosswalks!

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  • July 24, 2024 8:58 am local time

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