Place des Quinconces

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The Place des Quinconces, located in Bordeaux, France, is one of the largest city squares in Europe (approximately 31 acres or 126,000 m²).

Panorama of the Place des Quinconces

It was laid out in 1820 on the site of Château Trompette, intended to prevent rebellion against the city. The guns were turned towards the center. Its current shape (lengthened rectangle rounded off with a semicircle) was adopted in 1816. The trees were planted (in quincunxes, hence the name of the square) in 1818.

Place des Quinconces.
Trees of the Place des Quinconces.

The two rostral columns (21 metres in height) facing the Garonne were erected by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau in 1829. One of them symbolises commerce, while the other stands for navigation. The white-marble statues of Montaigne and Montesquieu (by sculptor Dominique Fortuné Maggesi) were added in 1858.

The principal monument was erected between 1894 and 1902 in memory of the Girondists who fell victim of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. It is composed of a large pedestal framed with two basins, decorated with bronze horses and troops, and surmounted by a large column with a statue on top that represents the spirit of liberty.

The Girondists monument.

Among the sculptures are:

  • towards the large theatre: triumph of the Republic
  • towards Chartrons: triumph of the Concorde
  • towards the river: the Tribune with the French cockerel; to its right, History, and on its left, the Éloquence (2 seated people).
  • towards the Tourny square: the city of Bordeaux sitting on the prow of a ship with a cornucopia. To the right of the base: the Dordogne River and to the left the Garonne.

At the feet of the tank with horses: Ignorance, Lie and Vice. The quadriga horse-fish is a representation of Happiness. The column was erected by Achille Dumilatre and Rich[disambiguation needed]. The pedestal is by Corgolin. In 1983 the horses that were removed during the German occupation of France in World War II were reerected with their bronze restored.

With the installation of a tram system in 2003, the place has become the most important public transport hub of the area, with two tram lines, 21 bus lines (including 3 night buses), an electric shuttle, and 12 coach lines through Gironde, as well as a reception area in the south.

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Coordinates: 44°50′44″N 0°34′25″W / 44.84556°N 0.57361°W / 44.84556; -0.57361