The prestigious square which is known as the Place Vendôme is located in the first arrondissement of Paris. The square is located at the starting point of the iconic Rue de la Paix. It can be found east of Église de la Madeleine and the Tuileries Gardens are south of the location. It is situated near the Louvre and is visited by many tourists each year.
History and Architecture
The square was first laid out by Architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who was the architect responsible for building most of the Versailles Palace. He had originally bought the land where the square sits in 1702, hoping to build structures around it to make money from real estate. Unfortunately, his plans did not pan out and the land was ceased by the King’s minister of finance. The land was later declared to be a public area and it was commissioned to become a square. The plans were to make it octagonal in shape, and it took the place of the palace of the First Duke of Vendome.
When the plans were turned over to King Louis XIV from the minister, Mansart was brought back into the picture and was asked to design the public square. The plan was to create a more magnificent area than the Place des Vosges, which contained a monument for the King’s predecessor King Louis VIII. The design resembled Place des Vosges, where all the surrounding buildings are similar in structure and laid out symmetrically. The buildings in the area all had arched ground floors with decorative pillars and tall second floor windows.
Place des Conquêtes
The name of the square was originally Place des Conquêtes, or in English “Conquest Square”. This was later renamed Place Louis le Grand, to honor Louis XV and his armies. A monument of the King was placed in the center of the square and stood there for a hundred years. It was, however, torn down during the French Revolution.
The column which is found in the square today was erected by Napoleon Bonaparte and was called Colonne d’Austerlitz. This was to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz. According to Napoleon, the statue atop the column was said to be made out of melted canons from various armies in Europe. In the year 1871, the Paris Commune ordered a decree for the column to be torn down. However, it was rebuilt later on and still stands there today.
The square is a symbol of luxury in France. There are many posh residential buildings as well as high-end retail stores that surround the area. Well-known hotels such as Bristol, Park Hyatt and Ritz are located around the square. Many famous designers now have retail stores standing around the square. A handful of famous people have resided near the square, including the famous composer Frédéric François Chopin.