What's in the Square?The Place de la Concorde is the largest and most impressive square in Paris, measuring at 84,000 square meters. During the Revolution, the guillotine was placed in the center decapitated more than 1,000 heads, among them nobles and many important people.
Today in the center of the square stands the Egyptian Obelisk of Luxor. It is 23 meters tall and weighs 255 tons. There are also two beautiful fountains in the square, their design was copied from St. Peter's Square in the Vatican in Rome. The theme of the first fountain is sailing in the sea and the other - sailing in rivers. In both of them you will find statues of golden idols and water nymphs.
At the four corners of the square are eight sculptures of female characters, symbolizing the eight important cities of France: Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest, Rouen, Lille, Strasbourg and Lyon.
On the northeastern edge of the square is the United States Embassy (west of the Kryon hotel). You can also find the Madeleine Church here, alongside the International Automobile Federation, which sets the rules for car races around the world, including the Formula 1 race.
The center of the square is a wonderful observation point on the area.
The Origin of the Square's NameThe name of the square today is the Square of Agreement, but until that name was given to it, the square underwent several incarnations of names.
The first name was "Place Louis the 15th", since it was established in the days of... well yes. Louis the 15th. He wanted to put a statue of him on a horse in the middle of it. Of course the reason for this was to glorify the king's name and honor.
As soon as the French Revolution broke out, the revolutionaries saw the square as the place to put a guillotine for the decapitation of important people and nobles - kings such as like Louis the 16th, Queen Marie Antoinette, and so on. The statue of Louis the 15th was smashed to pieces and the square became the "Place de la Révolution".
After the period of decapitation ended, the name of the square changed again - this time to the "Square of Agreement". The guillotine was removed and replaced with the Egyptian obelisk.
About the Egyptian Obelisk in the Heart of the SquareToday the center of the square stands the Egyptian Luxor Obelisk. This is a 3300 year old pillar, that describes the victories of Ramesses the 2nd. The pillar is 23 meters high.
The obelisk was given to France as a gift by the Egyptian governor Muhammad Ali and it took five years until they managed to transfer it from the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple in Luxor to the Place de la Concorde. The obelisk was only properly placed in 1836, after a complicated and complex procedure whose description was immortalized on his base - where the many mechanical means used to bring the obelisk to the square, weighing 255 tons, are described.
In 1998 the French government added a small golden pyramid to the head to complete the missing upper part (that was probably stolen in Egypt).
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the obelisk symbolizes the god of sun, because as a result of its height it is the first structure on which the sun falls and attests to the coming of the day.
In 2000 a French climber made history in the square. His name is Alan Robert and he climbed to the top of the obelisk using only with his hands and feet.