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Place de la Concorde


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La Bastille

Translated by Lottie Davies — 10 months ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

The Place de la Bastille is a symbolic square in Paris, due to the important role that it has played in the history of France. Nowadays, it is one of the most famous and most visited squares in the city in terms of tourism, but it isn’t the prettiest nor the most important.

At first, the Bastille was used to defend one of the entrances into Paris before becoming the famous prison that was stormed on July 14th, 1789, which was considered to be the flashpoint of the French Revolution. After this, a guillotine was installed there, but the number of executions never exceeded one hundred, whereas the number of people decapitated in the Place de la Concorde rose to over 1000.

La Bastille

In the Place de la Bastille, there is a monument dedicated to the July Revolution, which took place in 1830, aptly titled the “July Column” [Colonne de Juillet, in French], which they originally wanted to build during the revolution itself but the project had to be stopped. It is a column that measures 46. 3 metres tall and it sits right in the middle of the square. At the very top of the column, there is a golden sculpture called the “Génie de la Liberté” [the Spirit of Freedom, in English].

La Bastille

The following passage is inscribed on the column: “À la gloire des citoyens français qui s'arment et combattirent pour la défense des libertés publiques dans les mémorables journées des 27, 28 29 juillet 1830”. [In English, it reads: “To the glory of the French citizens who armed themselves and fought for the defense of public liberties in the memorable days of the 27th, 28th and 29th July 1830. ”]

Due to the symbolism of the square, it is usually the start or end point of the protests that take place in Paris.

The Bastille Opera House is also located in this square: it is a beautiful, yet very modern building, which really contrasts with the rest of the important buildings in Paris that are much older and more elegant. It has been one of the Paris National Opera’s main facilities since 1990, but the Palais Garnier is the most representative of the two on a global scale.

La Bastille

In this area and in this district, in general, there are lots of restaurants, bars and places that you can go out to at night.

To get there via the city’s metro system, you must take either line 1, 5 or 8 and alight at the stop, “Bastilla”.

Obviously, very close to this square lie the Place des Vosges and the Maison de Victor Hugo (the author of the famous work, Les Misérables), in case you want to visit them. They are not at the top of the “must see” list of attractions in Paris, but they are worth seeing all the same.

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The Place de la Révolution that later became the Place de la Concorde

Translated by Lottie Davies — 10 months ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

The Place de la Concorde is located right in the centre of Paris, between the Tuileries Garden and the Champs-Élysées. It is the second-largest square in the whole of France.

The most significant thing about this square is the obelisk found in the very centre of it, as well as the Ferris wheel that is just next to the entrance to the Tuileries Garden. There are also two very small fountains to either side of it (the Maritime Fountain and the Fountain of the Rivers).

The Place de la Révolution that later became the Place de la Concorde

This square is one of the most famous in French history, as it was one of the most important sites during the French Revolution, thanks to the erection of a guillotine. In fact, the square was previously known as the Place de la Révolution, but when the Revolution ended, they renamed it as the Place de la Concorde, although it seems a little bit ironic to me. It was here where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed by the guillotine, as well as a thousand others were also decapitated in the square.

The Place de la Révolution that later became the Place de la Concorde

The obelisk is known as the Luxor Obelisk, as it comes from the Luxor Temple in Egypt. It measures 23 metres in height and is made from yellow granite. At the top, there is a kind of small golden pyramid. It was erected in Paris in 1830, however, to this day, many Egyptians are pleading for its return to its rightful home.

The Place de la Révolution that later became the Place de la Concorde

The views from the wheel have to be really impressive because it it some 60 metres tall and, for how central its location is, you must be able to see everything perfectly; at night, it must be especially beautiful with the entire city illuminated by street lamps. I couldn’t go on the wheel because it wasn’t actually there the first time that I went to Paris and, the second time, we had a literal flying visit. Although, we did manage to see everything as I already knew how to best make my way around the city. On the other hand, having the wheel as part of the backdrop of many photos gives somewhat of an artistic touch to many places in Paris. Having found ourselves at one end of the Champs-Élysées, we could see it lit up in the background at the opposite end of the avenue. And when we sat ourselves down on the chairs by one of the ponds in the Tuileries Garden, we could again see it in the distance. I absolutely love the photos that I took there.

The Place de la Révolution that later became the Place de la Concorde

The closest metro stop is “Concorde”, which is served by lines 1, 8 and 12.

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