The busy streets and squares are a usual Parisian trademark and are places where the culture and tradition of the city exert their greatest influence. In fact, a visit to Paris will remain incomplete without paying a visit to these places. The oldest square the Place des Vosges has almost everything that a classic street square comprises along with the unique additions like a central garden, arches, and red-bricked facades.
Visitors looking for some least known places will find this square a charming place with a historical feel. The Place des Vosges occupies the position as one among the most beautiful squares in the world. The unique atmosphere of this square makes it an ideal place to take a stroll or enjoy shopping. Besides, it is a place to discover something new rather than following the guidelines of most Paris private tours.
A Short History
The Hotel de Tournelles, a major building dating back to 1388, stood in the place occupying the northern end of the square. The building was the place of residence of the royal family up to the period when King Henry II was accidentally wounded during a tournament. The building was demolished under the orders of Catherine de Medici, and in 1605, her son-in-law Henry IV ordered the construction of the square.
Inaugurated in 1612, the square was known as the Place Royale and was a major area where duels were held. It had a bronze statue of King Louis XIII at the center, which was later destroyed and melted down during the French Revolution. Yet in 1825, a new statue of King Louis XIII was installed at the square.
A Well-Planned Design
The Place des Vosges is known for being a perfectly planned and symmetrically accurate square. Its origins date back to 1604 under the reign of King Henry IV who ordered the building of a Royal pavilion at the square. King Henry IV envisaged a design that gave priority to the symmetry of the design such as red-bricked facades having rows of stone wedges, steep and dotted slate roofs, and vaulted arcades linking the colonnaded ground floor and dorm windows.
The Place des Vosges is a prime example of urban planning with a perfect balance of the symmetry brought out by the King’s Pavilion located at the south and the Queen’s Pavilion situated north of the square. A statue of Louis XIII adorns the center of the square surrounded by chestnut and line trees with four flowerbeds containing little fountains.
Maison de Victor Hugo
A prominent attraction of the Place des Vosges is the place where the famous author Victor Hugo lived, now known as the Maison de Victor Hugo. The rooms where Hugo wrote his masterpiece ‘Les Miserables’ are kept intact for the visitors along with various objects such as drawings, books, and souvenirs from the author’s life. Other prominent personalities such as the Cardinal de Richelieu and Madame de Sevigne also lived in this square.