|Jean-Baptise Apollinaire Lebas, obelisk mover|
No spot in Paris had greater ability to serve as a symbolic lightning rod.
A bronze plaque in the square commemorates the 21st of January 1793 when Louis XVI was marched up the steps of the guillotine erected there during the French Revolution.
Through the window came the sound of the drums, roll following roll following roll.
All around the guillotine were more soldiers, with cannons.
|Louis XVI meets the guillotine in Place de la Concorde|
Samson and the King's hair
The chief executioner, a man named Samson, scooped up the king's head and dangled it at shoulder height, and the crowd roared. Some dipped their handkerchiefs into the blood of a king. Not all the details are clear. Some say it took only one slash of the blade to sever the king's head; others say it took two attempts. Some say the executioner Samson later sold locks of the hair of the slain king; Samson denied that he did so.
|Guillotine plaque near obelisk in Place de la Concorde|
The guillotine was used against the leaders of the Revolution, as well. Danton climbed its steps, after a mock-trial was held by the Convention. Within months, the man who sent him to the blade, Robespierre, mounted those same steps, dirty linen holding up his broken jaw bone. Before the executioner - Samson, the same man who executed the King - dropped the blade, he tore off the bandage, and Robespierre cried out in pain. The crowd rejoiced at his death, for he was a much-hated man by then.
The smell of blood
The Flight of the Obelisk King
Louis-Philipe, the man on the throne when engineer Lebas erected the Beautiful One, did not
long enjoy his reign as king. During the July Revolution in 1830, Charles X was overthrown, and Louis-Philipe was offered the throne, becoming the King of the French. His reign lacked pomp, and at first he was very popular, being called the Citizen King, but as the plight of the poor worsened, his popularity plummeted. Following revolts, he abdicated in 1848, disguising himself as a civilian and, after rushing through an underground tunnel to his four-wheeled cab located in the Place de la Concorde, fleeing to England, where he lived until his death in 1850.