Weaving Stories At The Place De La Concorde

My son is really into the Rick Riordan myth books. In The Red Pyramid his characters use the Obelisk in the Place De La Concorde as a portal to escape from a fight in Egypt. Riordan’s books are really good at cleverly weaving stories together, combining ancient histories and myths into the modern world. It’s easy to get caught up in that mythology when you are standing in a location with so much history on a sultry summer evening.

Weaving stories together in the Place de la Concorde

I love the complex mix of stories in this image. From the ancient temple monument with its own legends chiseled painstakingly into the stone. Through the wide-open space where the guillotine once stood while cheering crowds watched often famous people brought to ‘justice’. Past the elaborate 19th-century lamp posts, often portrayed in pedestrian scenes by the impressionists. To the sparkle of the modern traffic lights and electric lighting. Like Rick Riodarn’s books, this view brings the ancient and modern together combining different world views, and even different ‘other-world’ views in a single space. Different belief systems, different myths, and varying politics. When you stand in a place like this and allow your sense of time and space to bend a little, you begin to open your mind to all kinds of possibilities.

A little history of the Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde has a rich history. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755, it has been renamed four times as different political struggles occurred in Paris. It was conceived as a show case for a statue of King Louis XV but following the French Revolution became a place of execution for many famous historical figures including King Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette. The obelisk was erected here in 1836 is one of two from a temple at Luxor, gifted to the French by Egypt. The cost of bringing the second obelisk to France was so prohibitive it remained at Luxor and was eventually gifted back to Egypt in the 1990s. Incidentally, the characters in Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid use the obelisk left in Luxor as the entry portal to reach its twin in the Place de la Concorde.

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