Place des Vosges

Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville

Inaugurated in 1612 as place Royale and thus Paris' oldest square, place des Vosges is a strikingly elegant ensemble of 36 symmetrical houses with ground-floor arcades, steep slate roofs and large dormer windows arranged around a leafy square with four symmetrical fountains and an 1829 copy of a mounted statue of Louis XIII. The square received its present name in 1800 to honour the Vosges département (administrative division) for being the first in France to pay its taxes.

In Paris, only the earliest houses were built of brick; to save time, the rest were given timber frames and faced with plaster, later painted to resemble brick.