des Vosges - Paris 3rd & 4th
Arriving through the rue de Birague, here is the most beautiful
square in Paris: PLACE DES VOSGES.The history of this square is
a long one. Its in the Hotel de Tournelles that Henri II died
of the wounds he received after a tournament. His wife, Catherine
de Medicis tore the building down and on the spaces that were set
free, a horse market was set up for some time.
The place was also a favourite duelling spot! King Henry IV decided
to build a new hotel des Tournelles and as he had certain ideas
about aesthetic and economical preoccupations, he decided, in 1605,
the building of a square based upon new architectural criteria.
: regular plan, identical facades interrupted by two symmetrical
pavilions: Pavillon du Roi et Pavillon de la Reine. Until that time,
you could build anyhow, anywhere, as you pleased without any prepared
plan. That's what gives this special touch to the old streets of
the Middle Ages. The inauguration took place for the double marriage
of the king and his sister in 1612 and it soon turned out to a very
residential area. Henri IV started then to build houses around the
square (financed by the authorities) and soon the wealthy aristocracy
settled down here (the marquise de Sevigne was born at no.1). First
called Place Royale, it is an example of admirable planning
and lay out , surrounded by arched galleries in front of the beautiful
your time, look and walk around, admire the great refinement of
colors: the roofs are blue and the windows are in white stone and
red brick, just like the arches. The central garden you see now
didnt exist at that time. It is planted with tile trees today
and houses a statue of Louis XIII set up in 1825.
Look at the Pavillon de la Reine, with its sculpted doors, monumental
staircases, splendid ramps, interior yards and gardens. Finally,
the place Royale was renamed Place des Vosges, to honour the first
region in France who paid taxes in 1800.
Victor Hugo, Frances greatest poet alas as said
Andre Gide, lived here from 1832 until 1848
at no.6, Sully at no.7, Theophile Gauthier and Alphonse Daudet at
no 8 and Richelieu at no. 21, Hotel de Richelieu. Even Georges Simenon
rented an apartment on the place des Vosges for a while.
Today, the place still radiates the aristocratic atmosphere of
old times. Its a quiet square, with nice fashion boutiques,
speciality shops, antique shops, the very special small knick knack
shop Max Spira, tea parlours and the famous and dignified
restaurant lAmbroisie. Street musicians add sometimes more
animation to the place. A feast for the eyes.