Arguably the most beautiful of the many “places” or squares in Paris is La Place des Vosges.
The breathtakingly beautiful Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. Commissioned in 1605 by Henri IV, it formed the prototype for residential squares in cities all around Europe. Nothing of the kind had been seen before. Originally named La Place Royale, the square was inaugurated in 1612 to celebrate the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. It was re-named, as La Place des Vosges, in 1799 when the Department of Vosges became the first department to pay taxes supporting a campaign of the French Revolutionary army. So, really the name was a reward for support for the new, anti-royalist France.
At 140 metres by 140 metres La Place des Vosges is a true square. The facades of the houses that line it are all built to the same design from red brick with stone strips over vaulted arcades, steeply pitched blue slate rooves and small panelled dormer windows. Like many of the ‘places” of Paris, La Place des Vosges is planted with Linden trees, surrounded by lawns and gravel paths.
La Place des Vosges has been home to many famous French people including Victor Hugo who lived in L’Hôtel Rohan-Guéménée which is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Like many of the “places” in Paris La Place des Vosges is a quiet retreat from the noisy, busy city