Place_des_Vosges Latitude and Longitude:

48°51′20″N 2°21′56″E / 48.85556°N 2.36556°E / 48.85556; 2.36556
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Place des Vosges
Aerial view of the Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is located in Paris
Place des Vosges
Shown within Paris
Length140 m (460 ft)
Width140 m (460 ft)
Arrondissement 3rd, 4th
QuarterArchives. Arsenal.
Coordinates 48°51′20″N 2°21′56″E / 48.85556°N 2.36556°E / 48.85556; 2.36556
From rue de Birague, 11 bis
To rue de Béarn, 1
CompletionJuly 1605

The Place des Vosges (French pronunciation: [plas de voʒ]), originally the Place Royale, is the oldest planned square in Paris, France. It is located in the Marais district, and it straddles the dividing-line between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris. It was a fashionable and expensive square to live in during the 17th and 18th centuries, and one of the main reasons for the chic nature of Le Marais among the Parisian nobility.


Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612. A true square (140 m × 140 m), it embodied one of the first European programs of royal city planning ( Plaza Mayor in Madrid, begun in 1590, precedes it). It was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens: at a tournament at the Tournelles, a royal residence, Henri II was wounded and died. Catherine de' Medici had the Gothic complex demolished, and she moved to the Louvre Palace.

The reverse of a 5 French francs 1959 banknote of the French national bank ( Banque de France) with a portrait of Victor Hugo. To the right is an image of the Place des Vosges.

The Place Royale, inaugurated in 1612 with a grand carrousel to celebrate the engagement of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, is a prototype of the residential squares of European cities that were to come. What was new about the Place Royale in 1612 was that the housefronts were all built to the same design, probably by Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau, [1] of red brick with strips of stone quoins over vaulted arcades that stand on square pillars. The steeply-pitched blue slate roofs are pierced with discreet small-paned dormers above the pedimented dormers that stand upon the cornices. Only the north range was built with the vaulted ceilings that the "galleries" were meant to have. Two pavilions that rise higher than the unified roofline of the square centre the north and south faces and offer access to the square through triple arches. Though they are designated the Pavilion of the King and of the Queen, no royal has ever lived in the aristocratic square, except for Anne of Austria in the Pavilion de la Reine, for a short while. The Place Royale initiated subsequent developments of Paris that created a suitable urban background for the French aristocracy and nobility.

The square was often the place for the nobility to chat, and served as a meeting place for them. This was so until the Revolution.

Before the square was completed, Henri IV ordered the Place Dauphine to be laid out. Within a mere five-year period, the king oversaw an unmatched building scheme for the ravaged medieval city: additions to the Louvre Palace, the Pont Neuf, and the Hôpital Saint Louis as well as the two royal squares.

Cardinal Richelieu had an equestrian bronze of Louis XIII erected in the centre (there were no garden plots until 1680). In the late 18th century, while most of the nobility moved to the Faubourg Saint-Germain district, the square managed to keep some of its aristocratic owners until the Revolution. It was renamed the Place des Vosges in 1799 when the département of Vosges became the first to pay taxes supporting a campaign of the Revolutionary army. The Restoration returned the old royal name, but the short-lived Second Republic restored the revolutionary one in 1870.

Today the square is planted with a bosquet of mature lindens set in grass and gravel, surrounded by clipped lindens.


View of no. 6 at night

Residents of the Place des Vosges

Panoramic view

See also


  1. ^ . Other architects, like Louis Métezeau, were responsible for the constructions erected behind these regular façades
  2. ^ Zinsser, Judith (2006). Daring Genius of the Enlightenment. Penguin. p. 21. ISBN  9780143112686.


  • Hilary Ballon, The Paris of Henry IV: Architecture and Urbanism, 1994 ISBN  0-262-52197-0
  • DeJean, Joan. "'Light of the city of light' The Place des Vosges" in her How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City NY:Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN  978-1-60819-591-6. chapter 2, pp. 45–61.

External links