If you’re wandering around in the Bas Marais, the Place des Vosges is a spot you definitely don’t want to miss. With beautiful architecture and hidden gems in every corner, this is the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon. Built in 1605 on the orders of King Henri IV, the Place des Vosges (at that time named Place Royale) is the oldest planned square in Paris. It was inaugurated in 1612 with an engagement party for Henri IV’s son and future king, Louis XIII, and Anne of Austria.
Today, the Place des Vosges is no longer home to royalty, but to interesting art galleries, gourmet restaurants, and the Square Louis XIII, bordered with rows of Crimean lime trees. In the middle of the square stands an equestrian statue of Louis XIII, surrounded by Indian horse-chestnut trees and four lawns with fountains in the center of each. It’s truly a unique and charming place to sit down and have a rest after a long stroll in Le Marais.
If you’re passing through on a rainy day, walk beneath the arcades where you’ll stumble upon several contemporary art galleries. You’ll also pass by the home of Victor Hugo (n°6), L’Ambroisie (n°9), a three-star restaurant in the Guide Michelin, and the lovely Restaurant Anne (n°28) in the Pavillon de la Reine, just at the opposite of the Pavillon du Roi (n°1).
Throughout the centuries, the Place des Vosges and its chic, symmetrical mansions have been home to numerous artists and celebrities. Among them, French authors such as Madame de Sévigné, Victor Hugo, Théophile Gauthier, and Colette, as well as the American dancer Isadora Duncan and former IMF president, Dominique Strauss-Khan.