The perfect symmetry of the Place des Vosges. And it really IS a square - 140 metres X 140 metres and the oldest planned square in the city.
Originally named Place Royale (although no royalty ever lived in the square, in spite of the two pavillions in the north and south of the square, raised above the unified rooflines, designated the Pavillion of the King and the Pavillion of the Queen).
It was built by Henry IV between 1605 and 1612 and inaugurated by the huge celebrations of the wedding of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria. It is Louis who is celebrated in the centre of the square with the equestrian bronze (this is not the original as that was melted down during the revolution).
The square was renamed Place des Vosges after the departement of Vosges became the first to pay a tax to raise money for the revolutionary army.
Richelieu, Sully and Victor Hugo are among the many residents who have lived in the square (#6 is now a museum to Victor Hugo).
It's a beautiful square and only a few minutes walk from the Bastille - there are also several (expensive) cafes and restaurants.
Begun in 1604-5 on the orders of Henri IV, the Place des Vosges was the first formal square in Europe - and at 140m x 140m is a true square! It was built on the site of the Hotel des Tournelles, where Henri II was wounded at a tournament and died, and it was originally known as Place Royalle. On completion in 1612 (after the death of Henri IV in 1610), it was inaugurated at the celebration of the marriage of Henri IV's son, Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.
Napoleon renamed the square in 1800, after Vosges, the first département in France to pay the new Revolutionary taxes.
The square is a beautiful place, with identical red brick houses surrounding a tree-filled park with a fountain. The houses have vaulted arcades or 'galleries' on the ground floor, and many are now upmarket boutiques and cafes.
After having had a nice cup of coffee and some croissants as a quick breakfast, we wandered into the quarter called the 'Marais'. Our first stop was the 'Place des Voges', and what a wonderful surprise this was. I hadn't been here before, but it stole my heart right away. The tranquillity of the square combined with the symmetry of the park and the surrounding buildings is a feast for the eyes. The sun had come out, making the red bricks of the houses look more vividly of colour. I am not really surprised that some people call this one of the most beautiful squares in the world, although I don't think this is a 100% true. But it certainly IS a beautiful square and not to be missed during a visit to Paris.
In total there are 36 houses, nine on each side, build in red brick, with large symmetric windows and steep roofs with those large chimneys that I like so much. Some says there are 39 houses in total though, hahaha, I guess it all depends what you call a 'house' I haven't even tried counting them, for me the total effect of it all was what took my breath away.
Place de Vosges was the second attraction that i visited on my first day in Paris and i was captivated.
To begin with, this place breathes with history - as i was told it's the oldest planned square in Paris (it was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612). And to my opinion it's a very romantic place - it's so nice to sit there and look at these gorgeous brick buildings, at fountains and young people strolling and lying on the ground.
Another favourite visit of ours is to the Place des Vosges in the Marais. This is a beautiful square with a number of restaurants, cafes and art galleries under the colonnades. The architecture is stunning and it is full of history. I believe the square was built in the time of Henri IV and he intended the most beautiful apartment to be for himself but he died before it was completed. Victor Hugo lived on the square and there is a museum there dedicated to him. It is a beautiful place to sit and have a sandwich in the sunshine but I also remember that on our first visit some years ago it was so cold that we sat drinking hot chocolate at Ma Bourgogne trying to bring the life back to our freezing hands by pressing them on the wooden tables that were warm from the heaters overhead. Happy memories!
On Sundays you might be lucky to come across the street band 'Borsalino' who play there often. They play great jazz and you can buy a CD as a memento.
Place de Vosges is an exquisite Renaissance plaza that shouldn't be missed. I've been to Paris several times, and I always visit it. This is an oasis of charm, greenery and symmetrical townhouses that can take you back centuries from the contemporary Paris urban scene. You can take a walk along the covered arcades beneath the townhouses and have a seat on a bench to enjoy the view of the trees, fountains and statue of King Louis XIII by his horse. King Henry IV had the idea of building this square, but unfortunately he died before it was completed in 1612.
Several famous people resided in these townhouses, the most well known being Victor Hugo, who lived here in number 6 from 1832 to 1848. His residence is open as a museum, where you can see artifacts relating to his life and works and see what a home of the times looked like. The contact info below is for this museum.
This was a beautiful break in the middle of the city. I love the history of the place...and would love to hole up in one of the apartments and be a starving artist (well, writer) for a time.
It's worth a stop for photos and to browse the museum if you get a chance.
This square was an early example of urban planning. Dating from 1612, during the reign of King Henry IV, this place housed many of the French nobility. Later, it was home to many distinguished citizens, among them Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo. It's long been a center of Parisian social life.
It's an outstanding example of 17th century architecture, with its beautiful symmetry and open space in the center.
One of the oldest squares in Paris, la place des Vosges was originally named place Royale. It was created by King Henri IV and completed in 1612 on the site of a demolished palace, l'Hôtel des Tournelles. The centre of the square contains a park while the surrounding architecture is uniform and somewhat unique in Paris due to the use of red brick combined with stone. These elegant buildings are arcaded and today contain numerous art galleries, cafés and restaurants. The square also contains, at no. 6, la Maison Victor Hugo, the author's house-turned museum dedicated to his life. Place des Vosges took on its current name in 1800, after a region in eastern France. The beautiful square is located at the eastern end of le Marais district in Paris.
Initially I thought this to be a plaza with artists and cafes like on the Rue du Mouffertard - I don't know why I got this idea - went there and saw Place des Vosges is a small park perfectly square shaped (140 meters x 140 meters).
As I read now about it, this is the oldest square in Paris - inaugurated in 1612. The buildings around the square are interesting as they were residence for some people in French history. At no.6 Victor Hugo lived between 1832-1848 and at no.21 Cardinal Richelieu from 1615-1627.
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