* Irene's Country Corner * - Around the World - France


© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic.



© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic. 

La Place et Pont de La Concorde

© Les Page de Paris. Not for download.

Picture © Les Pages de Paris


 Place de la Concorde

"The 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.

Jacques 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.

The place 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.

It became 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.

The place 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.

Hittorf 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.

The Horses 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."

© Irene. Not for download.

On the 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

"The 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 compressed air.

Like 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.

In 1810, 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).

These 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 bridge.

Although very busy with traffic, it has fine views of the Concorde Square and of the Palais-Bourbon."

Text: D. Dahl, H. Derks, O. Rakova, A. Uhlenbrauch, reviewed by Laurent Déchery - Gustavus Adolphus College, USA, from Les Pages de Paris.




© Jaime. Not for download. Please, visit Comet Creations if you like this graphic.

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This page was created on: February 28, 2002.
Last updated on: July 8, 2008.
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© Jaime. Not for download. Please, visit Comet Creations if you like this graphic.


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