Over 3,000 years old, the Obelisk of Luxor—which stands 75 feet (23 meters) high and is decorated with hieroglyphic carvings—was gifted to France by Egypt in 1833. Situated in Place de la Concorde, where guillotine executions were carried out during the French Revolution, the obelisk has since become a symbol of peace.The Basics
In the 19th century, the Egyptian government gave two obelisks to France. One—the Obelisk of Luxor—was taken from the entrance of the Luxor Temple and transported to Paris in 1833. The second never left the country and was formally given back to the Egyptians in the 20th century. The Obelisk of Luxor is a striking monument, thanks to its ornate carvings, its size (it weighs in at 250 metric tons), and its gold capstone (which was added to the landmark in 1998). It occupies pride of place in Place de la Concorde, Paris’ largest public square and site of the revolution’s most infamous guillotine executions.
Today, the Obelisk of Luxor is a celebrated symbol of the city and of peace. It can be viewed on hop-on hop-off bus tours; on walking, bike, and driving tours; or explored independently.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The original pedestal of the Obelisk of Luxor is currently on display in the Louvre; its current pedestal includes gold inlaid diagrams that show how it was transported.
- The Obelisk of Luxor was scaled (without ropes or gear) by French urban climber Alain Robert.
- Necessary viewing for history buffs and amateur Egyptologists, the Obelisk of Luxor features hieroglyphics that tell the tale of celebrated pharaoh Ramses II.
The Obelisk of Luxor, situated in Place de la Concorde in the 8th arrondissement, is located in the heart of the city. Take Métro line 1, 8, or 12 to Concorde, or use bus line 24, 42, 52, 72, 73, 84, or 94. Alternatively, the landmark can be accessed by car, on foot, or by Vélib’ bike.When to Get There
Place de la Concorde and the Obelisk of Luxor are both free to visit and are accessible to the public 24/7. There’s no bad time to appreciate the landmark’s beauty, though it’s particularly attractive at night, when it’s illuminated.Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre
The Obelisk of Luxor is situated conveniently close to the Louvre; plan to visit both in one day for an Egypt-themed tour of the city. The Louvre’s collection includes a number of priceless Egyptian artifacts, from carvings and papyrus scrolls to mummies and canopic jars (not to mention the obelisk’s pedestal).