Place and memory: Place de la concorde

As a seventeen year old student, I consider myself lucky enough to study in Paris, the city of lights. The city itself is an archive of the past, a history book that I enjoy reading every day, one page after another, one journey in the city after another. As I was thumbing through the pages of this page-turner, I got thrilled by the Place de la Concorde chapter. Place de la Concorde is more than a mere monumental place, it’s in fact the symbol of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or death, as Hilary Mantel stated. In this place, people have celebrated the end of monarchy, while others, in shame, have been executed. As I was walking in the Tuileries Garden, I could observe the majestic place. The light breeze caressed the yellow crinkled leaves, and they danced with the dust in the air of September, as if they were the soul of those who celebrated the Republic back then. I could hear the whirring cars, driven around the soaring Luxor Obelisk, and could sense the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette and her family’s cart, which drove them back then to the doors of darkness. At this moment, I was somehow trapped in a conflicting emotional state—I didn’t know whether I was happy about Monarchy’s overthrow, or saddened by the Queen’s shameful execution. The square’s complexion perfectly depicted my mixed feelings—ashen and joyful colors were oppositely incorporated in the framework. As I gazed at the Obelisk monument and its surrounding fountains, the shimmering applied golden paint dominated my sight, I could see the vestige of the Queen more dignified than ever, but also the glorious cries of “Vive la Republique!” In front of the Republic of France’s fluttering flags were placed two statues of the King, marking his old glorious time. This instance of contemplation let me assume that Place de la Concorde is home to the past and present’s coexistence. In the book of Time, Destiny flipped over Monarchy’s page, in order to introduce to the French people a new lecture: the Republic.

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