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On place de la Concorde, the vice is riding his horse

Louis XV's statue on the square | Public domain
Street District Statue Louis XV Place de la Concorde

Great, a statue!

We found here originally a statue of king Louis XV, with 4 virtues at his feet: Strength, Carefulness, Peace and Justice, designed by French sculptor Pigalle.

Put up where stands the current obelisk. Paris mayors ordered the statue to sculptor Bouchardon, in 1748, to celebrate the king’s recovery after his illness in Metz.

But they also wanted a square for their statue.

At that time, the current place de la Concorde looked like a big disgusting swamp.

Girls in the ditches

Architect Gabriel landscaped the square, in 1772. It looked like an octagon flanked by a 20 metres wide ditch crossed by stony bridges and surrounded by a balustrade.

On the 4 corners, 8 small detached houses with a staircase inside, to get down in the ditch.

You know what? We still can see those detached houses, flanked by allegories of French cities!

Ditches were filled in in 1852: the book Connaissance du Vieux Paris says it was because the prostitutes made dates here...

Hey, we still have a remain of those ditches: the balustrades.

Vice and guts

In short! Let’s get back to our statue. When they inaugurated it in 1763, Louis XV wasn’t popular at all.

So, people hung this sign on the statue’s neck few days after: "Oh, the nice statue! Oh, the beautiful pedestal! The Virtues are on foot, the Vice is riding."

Later, we could red: "He’s here like in Versailles: he’s heartless and gutless."

The statue was overturned in 1792, during the French Revolution. Then they replaced it by a statue of the Liberty goddess, with her Phrygian hat, put up on the previous pedestal... They removed it in 1800.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!