Our next stop on our walking tour of the Marais is a site iconic to the Marais- The Place des Vosges. This park is a destination for many people who travel to Paris and is simply a can’t miss.
“One of the world’s few great squares that really is a square, its equable, even spacing perhaps helps quiet it in our minds. A plain square surrounded by streets, each side filled with an identical procession of brick-and-slate dormered four-story buildings, its inner garden gated off and filled with a canopy of plane trees that covers children at play—in memory, it is softer than that. We see its shadowy arcades and hear the twilight sound of heels on granite, we recall children playing on the slide in the inner park beneath the plane trees, and imagine how, centuries before, horses would be put silently through their paces in the sand.” – Adam Gopnik, City Squares
The Place des Vosges was built in 1605 by Henri IV and at the time called Place Royale. The house fronts of the buildings were built of same design by Baptiste du Cerceau. Place Des Vosges is the oldest planed park in Paris located in the Marias where people seek refuge to a green manicured landscape, can go to cafes, galleries, or shop, can learn about Paris’s history, can tuck themselves away in a shadowy arch to people watch and it is undeniably picturesque. Overall images of the Place des Vosges appear to represent common themes about the park- how it is a green paradise in the middle of a busy city, its beautiful symmetrical landscape, its arcades, its beautiful red brick architecture, how the park is now a hub for relaxation and play and how the park still shines at night.
In 1612 the Park was inaugurated for the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. Anne of Austria was only royal to ever live briefly in the pavilions of the Place des Vosges. In 1619 Cardinal Richelieu commissioned a bronze statue of King Louis XIII. In 1634 the Duke of Sully, Maximilien de Sully, bought the Hotel De Sully mansion that has gardens and a doorway that leads to the Place des Vosges. In 1764 Paris’s first graffiti took place in Place des Vosges by author Nicolas Restif de la Bretonne. 1789- 1799 saw a new phase for the Place Des Vosges in which it was renamed Place de L’Indivisibilité during the revolution. The statue of King Louis XII was melted down during the revolution. By 1800 Napoleon had renamed the park the Place des Vosges The 1800s also saw a rise in Jewish population as Place Des Vosges and the Marais became a neighborhood for immigrants and the Jewish community.
In 1825 The Louis XII statue was replaced with a copy of the same statue. The infamous statue of Louis XII is a statue is typically photographed to represent the park. It can represent the history of the park and the spirit of Parisians and change being that it was melted down in the revolution then replaced.
Victor Hugo, author of “Les Miserables” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” lived in the Place des Vosges pavilions from 1832- 1848. In 1898 famous photographer Eugene Atget photographed the Place Des Vosges. During the 1960s the Place des Vosges experienced a restoration and became a very desirable location from here on. The entry way to the Place des Vosges from Hotel De Sully is like a hidden garden entry way to the famous arcades of the Place des Vosges. These arches once photographed by Eugene Atget are now photographed by many tourists and photographers in modern times and depict how the arcades have become commercialized with galleries and cafes.In 2012 Place Des Vosges was the site of the Diner en Blanc and featured in a documentary about the event.
There are plenty of images available on the internet of Place des Vosges due to the massive number of photos by artists, famous ones such as Eugene Atget, tourists, historians, amateur photographers, and bloggers. Many photographers who are bloggers include Place des Vosges as a must-see location on their site.
A common representation of the park is that it was a park that was once for royals but is now for the people. Perhaps the most noticeable details of this park include is vibrant, inviting green landscaping and lavish fountain but beyond this, viewers can see locals enjoyable this park as their own, seeking refuge from metropolitan life in the park and sitting on the grass reading. One can also see a tour taking place in the background which speaks to just how noteworthy this park has become.
A major part of the park is simply the beauty and symmetry of this location. These buildings were not subject to haussmannization and are a different style than the typical Parisian style architecture. Their exterior has remained consistent to its origin and again feed the notion of Paris as a timeless city. It is a green escape from the busy Parisian streets. The park is a perfect square fenced in then lined by rows of trees. These rows of trees then give way to four sections of grass all symmetrical to one another and identical (one is hidden by the center piece of the park, large canopy trees) and they all have a lavish fountain in the middle of their grass enclosed in a walking path that leads walkers to the center of the park. The center of the park is a large group of canopy trees and a statue that is hidden in this image by trees.