Paris’s largest square

Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in Paris. It’s a great place to stop for a sightseers’ picnic. It’s where the French gather for their biggest celebrations. But it also has a grisly past – thousands of people were guillotined here!

Our Paris bus tour gives you the full circuit before heading off up the Champs Élysées.

History of Place de la Concorde, Paris

Created in 1755, it was originally named Place Louis XV. However, its name changed during the French revolution when it became Place de la Revolution.

A guillotine was erected and the square saw hundreds of public executions – most famously those of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793.

Throughout the bloody days of the revolution, large crowds would gather to watch this gruesome spectacle. Only after the revolution was it renamed the Place de la Concorde.

From guillotine to obelisk

The place where the infamous guillotine once stood is now occupied by a 3,300 year-old Egyptian obelisk. In ancient times it marked the entrance to the Luxor temple, but was then given to France by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt in 1929.

Other interesting facts about the Place de la Concorde

  • The ‘reign of terror’ in summer 1794 saw more than 1,300 people beheaded in the square in a single month
  • The obelisk took over 3 years to travel from Egypt to Paris
  • At each of the 8 corners of the octagon is a statue representing a French city
  • The Hotel de Crillon to the north of the Place was the German High Command HQ during WWII