Place des Vosges
The Place des Vosges, located in the Marais district in the 4th arrondissement, is the oldest square in Paris and one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The square was originally named Place Royale, however after the French Revolution it was renamed Place des Vosges to honour the region of Vosges, located in the northeast of France, which was the first region to pay taxes to the new French government.
The square was constructed between 1605 and 1612 during the reign of Henri IV and was inaugurated on the wedding day of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. All 35 buildings surrounding it followed the same design: they were built of red brick, had white stone façades, slate roofs and large dorm windows over arcades. Together they formed a symmetrical square (140 m x 140 m), which constituted an early example of urban planning. In the middle of the southern side of the square stood the King's pavilion, surmounting a gateway. On the opposite side, mirroring the King's pavilion, stood the Queen's pavilion. This side was also occupied by another noteworthy building: the "Hôtel de Tournelles". This impressive building, constructed in 1388, was home to the Royal family until 1559. In 1639, in the middle of the square stood the statue of King Louis XIII, which after having been destroyed during the French Revolution was replaced by a new statue of the same monarch in 1825.
Some of the most famous French personages living in the buildings surrounding the square were Cardinal Richelieu, the prime minister of France, and Victor Hugo, the author of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". The residence of the latter was converted into a museum after his death. Today, the square is a place where you can find many shops and cafes. It is planted with numerous clipped lindens placed in grass and gravel.