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At the base of the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde is one of the best-known squares in Paris. Designed toward the middle of the 18th century, it is an expression of the birth of a new style in French architecture, Classicism.
The Place de la Concorde has changed names several times and numerous constructions and statues were erected there, such as the statues of Louis the 15th and Liberty, then destroyed during the later reigns of Louis the 15th and Louis the 16th, during the French Revolution and under the Directoire. In the 19th century, the architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff gave the Place de la Concorde the appearance we recognize today: the two grandiose fountains and the rostral columns, along with the statues representing eight French cities. King Louis-Philippe placed in the center of the square an obelisk from Ancient Egypt, made of pink granite in the 12th century, a gift from Méhémet Ali in gratitude for Champollion's work in deciphering the hieroglyphs. On the north side of the Place de la Concorde is one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Paris, the Hôtel de Crillon, whose façade was classified as an historic monument in 1900.
Today, the Place de la Concorde is a busy intersection providing access to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Numerous cultural events and public gatherings take place there, and at Christmas time, the Concorde Ferris Wheel offers a singular view of Paris all decked out and illuminated for the occasion.