Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Place Royale

Bonjour All!!! Thank you so much for your warm and generous holiday wishes! I hope everybody had a beautiful and delicious holiday! I did, I love spending time with my family, there really is nothing else like it! Well, I'm back from my mini vacation with the hubby & I have to say I feel like I was in a Chevy Chase movie for the last few days! It was a a terrible trip but I'm already laughing at all of our mishaps! Oh well, it is never bad to spend time with your loved one! It is true...there is no place like home (well, maybe Paris)!
I just love taking as stroll through the Place des Vosges! I really think it is just grand! It's one of my favorite haunts in Paris. Here's why...

The Place des Vosges is Paris' oldest square and it is breathtaking. Built from 1605 to 1612 by Henri IV. It was originally known as the Place Royale. A true square, it embodied the first European program of royal city planning. It was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens. At a tournament at the Tournelles, the royal residence, Henri II was wounded in a jousting tournament and died. Catherine de Medicis was devastated and had the Gothic pile demolished in her grief she then moved to the Louvre.

What was new about the Place Royale in 1612 was that the housefronts were all built to the same design of red brick with strips of stone quoins over vaulted arcades that stand on square pillars. Within a mere five-year period the king oversaw an unmatched building scheme for the ravaged medieval city: additions to the Louvre, the Pont Neuf, and the Hôpital Saint Louis as well as the two royal squares.

It was originally known as Place Royale. This changed after the French Revolution when the region of Vosges in the northeast of France on the border of Luxembourg and Germany was the first to pay taxes to the new French government. To honor them, the most beautiful square in Paris was named after this region.

A stroll through Le Marais without visiting Place des Vosges would be like going to the Champs Elysées without seeing the Arc de Triomphe! The Place des Vosges has two major houses. In the middle of the north side is the Queen Pavillon, dedicated to the former queen of France. On the south side is the King Pavillon, Le Pavillon du Roi. These houses are not open to visitors. You can, however, visit the home of Victor Hugo, the famous author of “Les Miserables.”

The home of Victor Hugo

On the southwest corner of the square, a secret door open only during the day, allows entry to the fantastic Hotel de Sully Gardens. A must if you are there. Cross through another passage and you’ll find a courtyard with enchanting statues representing the four seasons. If you keep heading south you’ll come to rue Saint Antoine, an extension of rue de Rivoli. Make a left and you’re on your way to Place de la Bastille. You may notice some white marks on the ground – these show where the infamous Bastille prison once stood. Remarkable!!!

Of course my favorite part about this famous square is of course, the history it encases within its' walls. The houses are incredible and the only thing more incredible than their beauty are the former residents that inhabited them!
No. 1bis ~Mme de Sevigné was born here

No. 6 ~Victor Hugo from 1832 - 1848, in what was then the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, now a Ville de Paris-managed museum devoted to his memory (and it is free to go in)!

No. 7~ Sully, Henri IV's great minister

No. 8~ poet Théophile Gautier and writer Alphonse Daudet

No. 9 ~(Hôtel de Chaulnes) the Academy of Architecture

No. 11~ occupied from 1639-1648 by the famous courtesan Marion Delorme (what I wouldn't give to see her home in it's hayday!)

No. 14 ~(Hôtel de la Rivière). Its ceilings painted by Lebrun are reinstalled in the Musée Carnavalet

No. 17 ~former residence of Bossuet

No. 21~ Cardinal Richelieu from 1615 - 1627

Photos via Flickr

I say we all meet up here for an espresso and some girl talk! Could you think of a better place to meet!?!

Bisou Mon Amis!

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  1. Judith,
    I LOVE PLACE DES VOSGES!!! I have so many wonderful memories there. I used to live in the 11th and would walk down there sometimes on Saturdays. SO LOVELY! There is also a delicious Moroccan restaurant just around the corner!

  2. I love the staircase in the 3rd photo

  3. Count me in! I visited Victor Hugo's apartment last time for the first time and it was amazing to look at the same view and hear the same sounds of the children he must have experienced. Time travel at its finest!

  4. This is a lovely post, I really enjoy the history being told here.....thank's Judith.
    Have a great weekend, Ingela

  5. So pretty...I'll meet you there! :) What time? And sorry you had a rotten vacation--sometimes those have the best memories though!

  6. Merci Judith! I can relate to the family trip. I come from a family of 10 so imagine the chaos. However, I was able to spend this year at home which was wonderful. It is great to see the Place des Vosges. I agree, it is a beautiful spot. I remember the first time I saw it, we had stayed out a little too late the night before and drank too much wine. We stumbled around Le Marais, where we were staying, and our pathway opened up into the square. Needless to say, we were blown away. We sat on the park bench for quite awhile and took it all in. Your historical references about those who were fortunate enough to live there really enhanced my appreciation for the area. I can't wait to go back, with this new knowledge, and take it all in again. You are the best!!! Happy Holidays.

  7. I've visited the Place des Vosges many times and it is one of my favorite squares in Paris - thanks for all the information too - you have illuminated this lovely place for me! I just love to walk around the arcades and imagine living there...

    Ah, to dream. xo T.

  8. Place des Vosges is pure Paris magic. I love it and especially in winter. Thanks for the lovely post. Carla

  9. So delighted to find your lovely blog ... especially because I've had Place des Vosges on the brain lately!
    I'll look forward to your further wanderings .... Judith de Santa Fe


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