Place et Pont de La Concorde
© Les Pages de Paris
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde, the largest one in Paris, is situated along
the Seine and separates the Tuilerie Gardens from the beginning
of the Champs Elysées. It is in the 8th arrondissement,
or district, of the city.
Ange Gabriel, Louis XV's architect, began the construction in
1754 and completed it in 1763. It was thus called the Place Louis
XV. The place was constructed to hold an equestrian statue of
Louis XV that the city of Paris commissioned in 1748 from Bouchardon
to offer to the king.
formed an octagon bordered by large moats that no longer exist.
In contrast to older places that were closed, la Place de la
Concorde, largely open, served as an intersection as well as
a decoration. The equestrian statue marks the intersection of
two principal axis: the East-West axis from the perspective of
the Tuilerie Gardens and the Champs Elysées, the North-South
axis from the perspective of la rue Royale and the bridge created
in alignment. With respect to urban accomplishments, it is the
greatest achievement of the Enlightenment in the capital.
the Place de la Révolution and held in its center the
guillotine that executed in particular Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette,
Danton, Robespierre, and 2800 others between 1793 and 1795. It
is said that the smell of blood was so strong that a herd of
cattle refused to cross the place. After the Revolution it suffered
a series of transformations et several changes of name: place
de la Concorde, place Louis XV again, place Louis XVI, place
de la Chartre, and once again place de la Concorde to symbolize
the end of a troubled era and the hope of a better future.
today maintains the general appearance that it had in the eighteenth
century. The statue of Louis XV, removed during the Revolution,
was replaced by the Obelisk of Luxor given by the viceroy of
Egypt, Mohamed Ali, to Louis Phillipe. The obelisk, 22.83 meters
high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the
Amon temple at Luxor, was installed in 1836.
completed the decoration of the place between 1833 and 1846.
The obelisk is at the center of an oval whose two centers are
fountains constructed at the same period. At each corner of the
octagon is found a statue that represents one of the large French
cities: Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes,
Brest and Rouen.
of Marly, monumental statues representing a group of horses,
that are found at the beginning of the Champs Elysées
are now at the Louvre Museum and have been replaced by copies.
The place is bordered to the north by l'Hôtel Crillon and
l'Hôtel of the Navy Minister that frames the rue Royale,
to the east by the Jeu de Paume and L'Orangerie of the Tuileries,
to the west by the beginning of the Champs Elysés and
to the south by the bridge of the Concorde built by Perronnet
between 1787 and 1790. This bridge which leads to the Palais
Bourbon was enlarged between 1930 and 1932."
right, the Temps du Marroc, in front of the entrance of the Jardin
des Tuileries, and the Obélisque de Place de La Concorde.
Unfortunately the roll of film in my camera ended when I was
at the Place and I couldn't take any pictures. The only one I
have is this one of the obelisk. Fortunately I had my camcorder
with me. No digital camera at the time. :o(
Pont de la Concorde
14 m wide Pont de la Concorde (Concorde Bridge), built in 1791,
is the work of the engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, Director
of the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (National
Public Works School), founded by Colbert. He built it from sections
of dressed stone recovered from the demolition of the Bastille
during the Revolution - a very rare commodity. It has five masonry
arches built in the form of an arc, of 25, 28, 31, 28 and 25
meters. It was widened to 35 m in 1931 by building, upstream
and downstream, two bridge sections which reproduced the lay-out
of the old structure, supported on separate piles sunk using
the square of which it is an extension, its name changed with
events - Pont Louis XVI (Louis XVI Bridge), Revolution, Concorde,
then Louis XVI again at the Restoration, and finally Concorde
as from 1830. Successive rulers enjoyed decorating it with statues.
Napoleon had the effigies of eight generals who died in action
during the Empire campaigns placed on it. The Restoration replaced
them with twelve white marble monumental statues of four great
Ministers (Colbert, Richelieu, Suger, Sully), four soldiers (Bayard,
Condé, Du Guesclin, Turenne), four sailors (Dugay-Trouin,
Duquesne, Suffren, Tourville).
colossal statues made the bridge so heavy that they eventually
had to be removed and taken to Versailles. The bridge was widened
between 1930 and 1932 by the addition of two spans upstream and
downstream, while cleverly retaining the original shape of the
very busy with traffic, it has fine views of the Concorde Square
and of the Palais-Bourbon."
D. Dahl, H. Derks, O. Rakova, A. Uhlenbrauch, reviewed by Laurent
Déchery - Gustavus Adolphus College, USA, from Les Pages