Place des Vosges, formerly Place Royale in Paris, is a wonderful architecturally superb square in the Marais district of the city. The walk from the Pantheon, along Clovis Street, on to Boulevard Cardinal Lemoine, then Boulevard Henri IV, across the Seine via Pont Sully, past the Bastille Monument, is quite long. But it is full of breathtaking views including one all the way along the river to Notre Dame, many historical buildings and charming parks. On a sunny day, there are also lots of children in the playgrounds; their innocent laughter makes the day even brighter. Spring has definitely come to the city. Most trees are now green. Occasional showers and sudden gusts of wind remind one that it is April.
in the very beginning of the seventeenth century the Good King Henri IV decided that he wanted to have a nice welcoming place for himself and his friends. He ordered Place Royale to be erected, and it was done within a few years time. It is a perfect square 140×140 m on every side. The south and the north wings each have three entrance arches into the enclosure, while the east and the west wings are closed. All the houses, originally 36 of them, have identical facades with separate entries to each numbered section, like a terraced house. The king’s noble friends lived there, but no members of the royal family. Unfortunately Henri IV himself did not have much time left to enjoy the loyal enclosure, as he was assassinated by the catholic fanatic Ravaillac in 1610. The square survived the multitude of changes, including the revolutions and upheavals.
Its center is decorated by the impressive bronze statue of Louis XIII erected by the order of cardinal Richelieu in the 1640’s. The enclosed park with the playgrounds was laid out much later. In the nineteenth century many celebrated writers found their homes there. Victor Hugo’s house at #6 is now a museum. There are several cafés and restaurants tucked into the arcades, with the prices that befit such a noble location.
One can find several picture galleries, souvenir shops and other notable little curiosity points there. A great place to visit and a nice long walk!