Following the French revolution in 1792 there was a need for a large public space in which to set up a guillotine. The largest square in Paris was chosen for this chore. And in the subsequent two years more than a thousand people were beheaded in this square, including King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The square now serves a very different purpose and most people who visit it may never know that it was once a public execution site.
This public square is now known as Place de la Concorde. It is between the Louvre’s Tuilerie Garden and the beginning of the Champs Elysée. It is the home of the Obelisk of Luxor, a 3200 year old monument from the ruins of a temple in Luxor, Egypt.
The Place de la Concorde is octagon-shaped. At each corner there is a statue that represents a major French city. And near the obelisk there are two fountains.
The two fountains honor river and maritime navigation and the industries that depend on them. The fountains were completed in 1840.
What I like about this photograph is the pattern in the water flowing over the lip of the fountain. And I think the distant French flag helps to complete the setting.
I can still hear the pounding of the water falling from the upper fountain into the basin. It was loud enough to almost drown out the traffic noise of buses and scooters in this busy square.
It seems like everywhere that you walk in Paris you discover another timeless monument, sculpture, fountain, or garden. We haven’t read a lot about Paris, well except for Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. But that was fiction and based in another time. Now that we have seen most of the iconic sites, we prefer to walk and discover things and then read about them.
Even though the Metro goes all over Paris, it is easy to walk to most places. Along the way you will stumble upon public art and architecture on small sides streets that most cities would be proud to have. But the thing is that in Paris they are everywhere you look.
It is a great walking city. If you get tired, why not stop at the sidewalk café on the corner and watch the world go by?