Place du Carrousel
The Place du Carrousel is a public square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, located at the open end of the courtyard of the Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 museum, a space occupied, prior to 1871, by the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

. Sitting directly between the museum and the Tuileries Garden, the Place du Carrousel delineates the eastern end of the gardens just as the Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.- History :...

 defines its western end.

The name "carrousel" refers to a type of military dressage
Dressage is a competitive equestrian sport, defined by the International Equestrian Federation as "the highest expression of horse training." Competitions are held at all levels from amateur to the World Equestrian Games...

, an equine demonstration now commonly called military drill. The Place du Carrousel was named in 1662, when it was used for such a display by Louis XIV.


On 5 October 1789, a mob from Paris descended upon Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

 and forced the royal family — Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette ; 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793) was an Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of France and of Navarre. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I....

, and their children, along with the comte de Provence (later king Louis XVIII), his wife, and Madame Elisabeth, the youngest sister of the king — to move to Paris under the watchful eye of the Garde Nationale. The king and queen were installed in the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

 under surveillance. During this time, there were many plots designed to help members of the royal family escape from France. The queen rejected several because she would not leave without the king. Other opportunities to rescue the family were ultimately frittered away by the indecisive king. After many delays, the escape ultimately occurred on 21 June 1791, and it was a failure. The entire family was captured twenty-four hours later at Varennes and taken back to Paris within a week

On 20 June 1792, "a mob of terrifying aspect" broke into the Tuileries and made the king wear the bonnet rouge (red Phrygian cap) to show his loyalty to France.

The vulnerability of the king was exposed on 10 August of that year when an armed mob, on the verge of forcing its way into the Tuileries Palace, forced the king and the royal family to seek refuge at the Legislative Assembly. An hour and a half later, the palace was invaded by the mob. They massacred the Swiss Guards, who fought with blind dedication and desperation. Some seven hundred were killed, and their bloodied bodies decorated the yard in front of the palace (in the place then known as the Cours du Carrousel), in the gardens of the palace, and along the banks of the Seine. On 13 August, the royal family was imprisoned in the tower of the Temple
Temple (Paris)
The Temple was a medieval fortress in Paris, located in what is now the IIIe arrondissement. It was built by the Knights Templar from the 12th century, as their European headquarters. In the 13th century it replaced earlier works of the Vieille Temple in Le Marais...

 in the Le Marais
Le Marais
Le Marais is a historic district in Paris, France. Long the aristocratic district of Paris, it hosts many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance...

 district, under conditions considerably harsher than their previous confinement in the Tuileries.

On 21 August 1792, the guillotine was erected in the Place du Carrousel, and it remained there, with two short interruptions, until 11 May 1793. In total, thirty-five people were guillotined there.

On 2 August 1793, at the former site of the guillotine, a wooden pyramid was constructed as a tribute to Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat , born in the Principality of Neuchâtel, was a physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution...

. It bore an inscription: "To the spirit of the late Marat
Marat may refer to:People*Jean-Paul Marat , Swiss-born scientist and physician and noted character of the French Revolution*Allan Marat, Papua New Guinean politician*Marat for discussion of the given nameArt and culture...

, 13 July, year I. From his underground tomb, he still makes the traitors tremble. A treacherous hand thwarted the affections of the people." There was also an exhibit of the famous hip bath of Marat and his desk where some of his most impassioned polemics were drafted. These items stayed in place until 9 Thermidor
Thermidor was the eleventh month in the French Republican Calendar. The month was named after the French word thermal which comes from the Greek word "thermos" which means heat....

 Year II (28 July 1794).

During the revolution of 1848, the Tuileries Palace was looted and severely damaged by rioters. On 23 May 23, 1871, during the suppression of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

, twelve men under the orders of a Communard, Dardelle, set the Tuileries on fire at seven in the evening, using petroleum, liquid tar, and turpentine. The fire lasted for forty-eight hours and entirely consumed the palace. The ruins of the Tuileries stood on the site for eleven years. In 1882, the French National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

 voted for the demolition of the ruins, and, despite much contrary sentiment, this was accomplished in 1883. The salvageable remains of the building were sold to a private entrepreneur.

Once the palace had been cleared away, the ground, which had been known as the "Place du Carrousel" since 1662, could, once again, be used as a public square.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

With the disappearance of the palace, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built between 1806 and 1808 to serve as an entrance of honor at the Tuileries, became the dominant feature of the Place du Carrousel. It is a triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 that was commissioned in 1806 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year. The more famous Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
Arc de Triomphe
-The design:The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin , in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture . Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; François Rude; Antoine Étex; James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire...

 nearby was designed in the same year, but it took thirty years to build, and it is about twice as massive.

People guillotined in the Place du Carrousel

  • Arnaud II de la Porte
    Arnaud II de La Porte
    Arnaud II de La Porte French statesman, Minister of the Marine, Intendant of the King's Civil List .-Early life and career:...

    , minister
  • Jacques Cazotte
    Jacques Cazotte
    Jacques Cazotte was a French author.Born at Dijon, he was educated by the Jesuits. Cazotte then worked for the French Ministry ofthe Marine and at the age of 27 he obtained a public office at Martinique....

    , writer
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