Sites and Sounds of Revolutionary Paris

What Was That Name?
Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
Revolution 1789
--The Monarchy
--Tennis Court Oath
--Fall of the Bastille
--October Days
--Declaration of War
--Palace Invaded
--Louis XVI
--Reign of Terror
-- Fall of Robespierre
--At war
1789 in Les Miserables
--The Terror
--The People
--The Students
--The Monarchy
--Place de Concord
--Notre Dame
Daily Sites
--Street Names
--Children's Names and Games
Works Consulted

One of the places in Paris that was home to a lot of revolutionary action was the Palce de Concorde. The place was the largest one present during the time of Les Miserable and was to subject numerous name changes. In this quote from Les Miserable the name change is evident as Hugo describes a mid-afternoon scene in the place:

"The Place de la Concorde, then Place Louis XV. again, was
overflowing with pleased promenaders. Here in the midst of
groups of applauding spectators, circels of girls gave to
the winds a Bourbon doggerel rhyme...Everything was radiant"
(Victor Hugo Les Miserable, Fantine, VI)
*Birds eye view of place Louis XV around 1784, engraving by Nee de Lespinasse, taken from (Rice 24).

The place de Concorde is located on the Siene and seperates the Tuilerie gardens from the Champs Elysses. The place de Concorde, in accordance with the trend of name changing in Paris during the time of the revolution, often changed names beginning as the place of LouisXV with a beautiful equestrian statue in the middle. Thomas Jefferson visited Paris in the 1780's and was quite taken with the statue. He often commented on it, sometimes day dreaming of having one commisioned to resemble George Washington.(Rice 4)

* the statue of Louis XV by Bouchardon (Rice 25)


The place was an octagonal shape and was designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel in 1754 and completed in 1763. In 1792 the place under went another name change and became place de revolution and in it was placed the guillitine. This was the sight where all the victims of the riegn of terror, including Louis XVI and his wife, were beheaded. It was said in 1792, at time of the thousands beheadings, the smell of blood was so strong in the place de Concorde that cattle would not cross it. In 1800, after the revolution of 1789, the place again changed its name to place de Concorde. However, not for long because in 1814, during the restoration, it became place Louis XV and after that the place Louis XVI. During the empire the place was known as place de Chartre and then finally back to place de Concorde to symbolize the end of a long and troubled political past.

The magnificent statue of Louis XVI was taken down during the revolution of 1789 and replaced by a statue of liberty, that was ironically placed directlly in front of the guillitine. In 1836 the obelisk of Luxor, given to Louis Philipee by Mohamed Ali of Egypt, was placed in the center of the place.