Place de la Concorde

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Coordinates: 48°51′56″N 2°19′16″E / 48.86556°N 2.32111°E / 48.86556; 2.32111

The Place de la Concorde (French pronunciation: [plas də la kɔ̃kɔʁd], Harmony Square) is one of the major public squares in Paris, France. In fact, in terms of area, its 86,400 square metres make it the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.

Contents

History

The Place was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagon between the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Gardens to the east. Filled with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon. The stone is made of a combination of lime and blue stone. The chemical compounds have let it survive for so long under acid rain.

At the north end, two magnificent identical stone buildings were constructed. Separated by the rue Royale, these structures remain among the best examples of Louis XV style architecture. Initially, the eastern building served as the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building became the opulent home of the Duc d'Aumont. It was later purchased by the Comte de Crillon, whose family resided there until 1907. The famous luxury hôtel which currently occupies the building took its name from its previous owners. The Hôtel de Crillon served as the headquarters of the occupying German army during World War II.

During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area renamed "Place de la Révolution". The new revolutionary government erected the guillotine in the square, and it was here that King Louis XVI was executed on January 21, 1793. Other important figures guillotined on the site, often in front of cheering crowds, were Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Élisabeth of France, Charlotte Corday, Madame du Barry, Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Antoine Lavoisier, Maximilien Robespierre, Louis de Saint-Just and Olympe de Gouge.

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