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.
The Palace of Versailles is a magnificent royal château in France and a World Heritage Site. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, it is a suburb of Paris, some twenty kilometres southwest of the French capital.
The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return there in October 1789 after the beginning of French Revolution.
Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol absolute monarchy.
Les Invalides (officially L’Hôtel National des Invalides) is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. Built between 1670 and 1676 on the order of Louis XIV as a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, it continues to fulfil its original purpose today as well as being home to museums and monuments connected to French military history. The building was designed by Libéral Bruant, and the iconic domed chapel by Jules Hardouín Mansart.
Although Les Invalides contains fifteen courtyards and several garden areas, the ‘great tree-planted space’ probably refers to Le Jardin de l’Intendant (Garden of the Steward) – a large garden of lawns, trees, flowerbeds and fountains situated to the front and south-west of the Eglise du Dôme (Church of the Dome), part of the Invalides complex.