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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville attractions

1. Maison de Victor Hugo

0.06 MILES

Between 1832 and 1848 the celebrated novelist and poet Victor Hugo lived in an apartment in Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, a townhouse overlooking one of Paris'…

2. Hôtel de Sully

0.11 MILES

In the southwestern corner of place des Vosges, duck beneath the arch to find two beautifully decorated, late-Renaissance courtyards festooned with…

3. Place du Marché Ste-Catherine

0.12 MILES

Clad with benches and shaded by trees, this pretty pedestrian square is framed on three sides by atmospheric cafe pavement terraces that are perfect for…

4. Musée Carnavalet

0.15 MILES

Paris' history museum, spanning Gallo-Roman times onwards, rambles over a pair of remarkable hôtels particuliers (private mansions), the 1560-built Hôtel…

5. Building Where Jim Morrison Died

0.18 MILES

Devout fans of rock star Jim Morrison can admire the elegant Hausmannian building at 17 rue Beautreillis, where the singer lived in an apartment on the…

6. Art Nouveau Synagogue

0.23 MILES

At the heart of the Jewish quarter of Pletzl lies this art nouveau synagogue, designed in 1913 by Hector Guimard, who was also responsible for the city's…

7. Place de la Bastille

0.24 MILES

A 14th-century fortress built to protect the city gates, the Bastille became a prison under Cardinal Richelieu, which was mobbed on 14 July 1789, igniting…

8. Colonne de Juillet

0.24 MILES

Soaring 52m high in the middle of place de la Bastille, the green-bronze July Column is topped by a gilded, winged Liberty. It was built between 1835 and…