France's largest city square is a spectacular sight to behold.
A marvel of urban scale and landscaping.
If you were to fly over the Place des Quinconces you'd be floored by its dimensions and struck by its perfect symmetry, oblique to the Garonne River and flanked by a line of trees that help to complete its graceful landscaping. Nothing is left to chance in this impressive urban space, built in the 19th century and at 12 hectares (30 acres) considered not just France's largest square but nearly the largest in Europe. Especially notable are the pair of 21-metre (69-foot) victory columns, designed in 1829 by Pierre-Alexandre Poitevin and adorned with sculpturework on motifs of commerce and seafaring, including anchors, prows, and the like, meant to symbolise man's dominion of the seas. Note, too, in the centre of the plaza the monumental fountain memorialising the mass executions of the Girondists, a losing faction in the French Revolution (built in 1902, its sculptures were sacked by the Nazis and restored after World War II).