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Paris Squares

We start with my favorite Place de la Bastille and continue with Place de la Concode, Place Charles de Gaulle and finally Place de la Nation. Enjoy!

Place de la Bastille

The square straddles 3 arrondissements of Paris, namely the 4th11th and 12th. The square and its surrounding areas are normally called simply Bastille.

The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) which commemorates the events of the July Revolution(1830) stands at the center of the square. Other notable features include the Bastille Opera, theBastille subway station and a section of the Canal Saint Martin. Prior to 1984, the formerBastille railway station stood where the opera house now stands.
The square is often home to concerts and similar events. The north-eastern area of Bastille is busy at night due to many cafés, bars, night clubs, and concert halls.
As a consequence of its historical significance, the square is often used for political demonstrations, including the massive anti-CPE demonstration of 28 March 2006.

Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde (French pronunciation: [plas də la kɔ̃kɔʁd], is one of the major public squares in ParisFrance. Measuring 8.64 hectares (21.35 acres) in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.

The Place was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagonbetween the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Gardens to the east. Decorated with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon. The stone is made of a combination of lime and blue stone. The chemical compounds have let it survive for so long under acid rain.
At the north end, two magnificent identical stone buildings were constructed. Separated by the rue Royale, these structures remain among the best examples of Louis XV style architecture. Initially, the eastern building served as the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building became the opulent home of the Duc d'Aumont. It was later purchased by the Comte de Crillon, whose family resided there until 1907. The famous luxury Hôtel de Crillon, which currently occupies the building, took its name from its previous owners; it was the headquarters of the German High Command during World War II.
During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area renamed "Place de la Révolution". The new revolutionary government erected the guillotinein the square, and it was here that King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. Other important figures guillotined on the site, often in front of cheering crowds, were Queen Marie AntoinettePrincess Élisabeth of FranceCharlotte CordayMadame du BarryGeorges DantonCamille DesmoulinsAntoine LavoisierMaximilien RobespierreLouis de Saint-Justand Olympe de Gouge.
The guillotine was most active during the "Reign of Terror", in the summer of 1794, when in a single month more than 1,300 people were executed. A year later, when the revolution was taking a more moderate course, the guillotine was removed from the square.
The square was then renamed Place de la Concorde under the Directory as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation after the turmoil of the French Revolution. It underwent a series of name changes in the nineteenth century, but the city eventually settled on Place de la Concorde.
The center of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated withhieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II. It is one of two the Egyptian government gave to the French in the nineteenth century. The other one stayed in Egypt, too difficult and heavy to move to France with the technology at that time. In the 1990s, President François Mitterrand gave the second obelisk back to the Egyptians.
The obelisk once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple. The Ottoman viceroy of EgyptMehmet Ali, offered the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk to France in 1829. It arrived in Paris on 21 December 1833. Three years later, on 25 October 1836, King Louis Philippe had it placed in the center of Place de la Concorde, where a guillotine used to stand during the Revolution.

Place Charles de Gaulle

The Place Charles de Gaullepronounced: [plas ʃaʁl də gol], historically known as thePlace de l'Étoile (pronounced: [plas də letwal]), is a large road junction in ParisFrance, the meeting point of twelve straight avenues (hence its historic name, which translates as "Square of the Star") including the Champs-Élysées which continues to the east. It was renamed in 1970 following the death of General and President Charles de Gaulle. It is still often referred to by its original name, and the nearby metro station retains the designationCharles de Gaulle - Étoile.
Paris Axe historique ("historical axis") cuts through the Arc de Triomphe, which stands at the centre of the Place de l'Étoile.
The original name of the area was the Butte Chaillot ("Chaillot mound", named after the locality). At the time it was the point of convergence of several hunting trails. The Marquis de Marigny constructed monumental roadworks, completed in 1777, on the mound when he was establishing the plantations along the Champs Élysées. This work included paving of the road in the form of a star, as it still exists today. The junction became known as the Place de l'Étoile. There is no pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe from any of the twelve avenues as there is constant movement of automobile traffic on and around the road junction, but an underpass is accessible to the Arc de Triomphe.
In 1787, during the construction of the Wall of the Farmers-General (Mur des Fermiers généraux), la Barrière de l'Étoile (also known as the Barrière de Neuilly) was built to the design of Claude Nicolas Ledoux for the collection of the octroi tax at the entrance to Paris. The wall and the two buildings built on either side of the Place de l'Étoile were demolished in the nineteenth century.
The Place de l'Étoile and the avenues leading to it were extensively redesigned as part ofBaron Haussmann's urban planning projects.
There is an urban myth that motor insurance companies will not cover driving around the Étoile, which is not strictly true. Insurance companies generally cover motor accidents only on the Étoile under a knock-for-knock agreement,[1] whereby each insurance company will pay for losses by its own policyholder, provided that the other party's insurance company agrees to do the same for the other policyholder.

Place de la Nation

The place de la Nation (formerly the place du Trône, then the place du Trône-Renversé) is a square in Paris, on the border of the 11th and 12th arrondissements. It was renamed thePlace de la Nation at the national festivities of 14 July 1880 and is served by the Paris Metro station Nation.
Whilst the city bears the traces of the mur des Fermiers généraux built well beyond the buildings of Paris city of Paris in a campaign to encircle houses, gardens and monasteries, its construction left a vast grassy space of vines and market gardens as far as the medieval city wall and the walls of the gardens of the old village of Picpus, filled with major convents, schools and retreats. In this space a throne was set up on 26 July 1660 for the solemn entry into Paris of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Spain, arriving in the city from Saint-Jean-de-Luz after their marriage. This gave the square its original name of place du Trône.
Originally in the square were two pavilions and two columns of the barrière du Trônedesigned by Claude Nicolas Ledoux and built for the barrier of octroi (Mur des Fermiers généraux) which surrounded the entrance to the cours de Vincennes. The columns are surmounted by statues of kings Philip II and Louis IX.
On the Revolution, the square was renamed place du Trône-Renversé after 10 August 1792. In the south half of the square, the most shaded side, near the pavilion of law built by Ledoux and on what is now the site of the magasin Damart, a guillotine was set up. 
The central monument, "The Triumph of the Republic", is a bronze group by sculptor Aimé-Jules Dalou. It was set up to mark the centenary of the French Revolution, at first in plaster in 1889 and then in bronze in 1899. A personification of the Republic, looking towards place de la Bastille and thus creating a Republican axis still frequently used for popular demonstrations, stands on a globe in a chariot pulled by lions and surrounded by various symbolic figures.
On 22 June 1963, the magazine Salut les copains organised a concert here, with singers such as Johnny HallydayRichard AnthonyEddy Mitchell and Frank Alamo. It attracted over 150,000 young people and raised their spirits, with the following day's issue of the journal Paris-Presse having the headline "Salut les voyous !". The photographer and friend of many singers, Jean-Marie Périer, photographed the concert. In the same era the place de la Nation was also partially the location for the foire du Trône before the pelouse de Reuilly.

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