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The Monuments of Paris – L’Obélisque de Luxor

By Christopher Measom - updated on Oct 6, 2020

You know the Place de la Concorde in Paris, and the amazing view to the Arc de Triomphe. But did you ever pay attention to the actual Egyptian Obelisk standing in the middle?

At the far end of the Champs-Élysées, set on the largest and possibly the most infamous square in Paris, is the Obelisk from Luxor, a 230-ton, 33-century-old obelisk of pink granite that was given to France by Mehemet Ali, viceroy of Egypt in 1831.

The square it sits in has so far been called (in this order) place Louis XV, place de la Révolution, place de la Concorde, place Louis XV (again), place Louis XVI, place de la Chartre and (for the time being) place de la Concorde (again!).

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La Guillotine de la Place de la Concorde

But before the obelisk occupied this square, there was the guillotine—one that saw the removal of nearly 3,000 heads (including Louis XVI’s and Marie Antoinette’s) between 1793 and 1795.

North of the obelisk is the Hôtel Crillon, where in happier times Marie Antoinette took piano lessons, and where in 1778 France (first in the world) signed a treaty recognizing a free and independent United States of America.

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More articles in this series:

The Monuments of Paris — L’Arc de Triomphe
The Monuments of Paris — L’Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The Monuments of Paris — L’Obélisque de Luxor
The Monuments of Paris — La Madeleine
The Monuments of Paris — L’Opéra
The Monuments of Paris — Le Moulin Rouge
The Monuments of Paris — Le Sacré-Coeur
The Monuments of Paris — Le Louvre
The Monuments of Paris — Notre Dame
The Monuments of Paris — La Tour Eiffel
The Monuments of Paris — Père Lachaise Cemetery

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