The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. Construction of the square began in 1754 and it was designed to showcase an equestrian statue of Louis XV. At the start of the French Revolution, the statue was torn down and replaced by a guillotine. During the height of the revolt, between 1793 and 1795, the guillotine was responsible for the execution of over 1300 people, including Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Mehmet Ali, the Ottoman Viceroy offered France an Egyptian Obelisk in 1829. In 1833 the Luxor Obelisk was placed in the centre of the square on the site where the guillotine used to be.
Today, the most dominating feature is still the 230 ton obelisk, almost 23m high in the centre of the square. It is engraved with Egyptian hieroglyphics that commemorate the Pharaoh Ramses II. When it arrived in Paris in 1833 it was already over 3300 years old. The Place de la Concorde that Edith Watson wrote about hasn’t changed since much the end of the French Revolution, and the present day square remains much the same despite differences in road surfaces, traffic and fashion of the pedestrians walking across the square.