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Giant Sundial Unveiled in Paris

June 22, 1999 GMT

PARIS (AP) _ Paris’ Place de la Concorde has been transformed into a giant sundial in a project postponed twice by world wars.

The French astronomer Camille Flammarion originally planned to mark the pavement of the central Paris square in 1913 to allow passers-by to tell time according to shadows from the 108-foot-high Obelisk.

Flammarion’s Concorde sundial was postponed after World War I broke out. The idea resurfaced in 1939, but was put off once again.

Paris Mayor Jean Tiberi revived the sundial plan as part of the city’s plans for millennium celebrations. It was unveiled Monday and will remain in place until 2001.


Pedestrians can tell time by lining up markings on the pavement with shadows cast by the Obelisk, a gift from Egypt that rises in the center of the Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine of the French Revolution once stood.

A chart near the monument helps passers-by translate the shadows into legal time.

Other millennium projects for the Place de la Concorde include the renovation of water fountains dating from 1840. Giant pools, basins and marine sculpture flanking the Obelisk will be cleaned up and set into motion in a $2.8 million project.