Monday, May 20, 2013

from the Cote d'Azure to Paris again....

Aerial View of Place des Vosges in the Marais District of Paris

If old architecture and life-styles of the rich & famous interest you...
this is the place.
A MUST SEE...plan on 1/2 day at least...
and try to read about this magical part of Paris before you visit.
 Located in the Marais, way off the beaten path...
not a "tourist spot" in any way.

It is so beautifully awesome
 one doesn't want to leave...
knowing that carriages entered through the arcade facades...
each one leading into an open courtyard...
and inside, one of the most beautiful homes you can imagine.
A perfect "square" containing 36 private residences...
each one the ultimate in design for the period...
and even until today.
Oh, to find such a place in today's world.

This fashion illustration will give you an idea of the style at the time
this beautiful square was constructed.

What truly amazes me is that in the 17th century
the craftsmen didn't have any of the modern
tools, electricity, water, equipment, etc.
so everything had to be done by hand.
It also amazes
me the architects to the court could be so forward-thinking
in their design of
townhouses with a common design for the exterior. 
All the designers will know about the arcade arches, the windows,
the dormers...imagine having a home with this amount
of natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows
being constructed in the 1600's. 

 Architectural Rendition, see link below:
Place des Vosges measures exactly 144 meters on each side,
which is 472.44 feet (say more than 1 1/2 football fields),
 with a beautiful,  perfectly symmetrical, square inside.

Today, as you are driving to PDV you come upon it unexpectedly, as it is now
completely surrounded by metropolitan Paris. Originally is was well outside the city in
what was called "swamp land."  There are only 2 entrances, one on each side, as shown
in the above photo.  Remember, horses were the carriers of the day, so they would enter
into this giant courtyard which was enclosed by the elegant townhomes, and the
1st level, now the arcade with shops and cafes, was the livery & service people's quarters.

the arcade

 Place des Vosges is my absolute favorite important monument 
in all of Paris.  It is a huge elegant square with symmetrically
perfect buildings from the 17th century.
In the center is a park with neatly clipped grass, gravel paths,
 wrought iron park benches and gas lanterns.
Madame de Sevigne, the famous letter writer of the
court of the Sun King, once lived in Place des Vosges. 

 There is a great brasserie located on the northeast corner of the Place.
We sat at a cozy table, eating roasted chicken, au gratin potatoes, and sipping wine.

In Place des Vosges, one can sit on a park bench,
wiggle their feet in the sandbox, munch on a croissant,
 and forget that they are in a bustling, cosmopolitan city.
They can walk the square and easily imagine what life

would have been like during earlier centuries,

when carriages and not cars traveled
the cobblestone streets,
 when Victor Hugo toiled away creating his classic novels  .

 I should have been an archeologist or a detective because I love investigating all the details,
 once I discovered Place des Vosges
I couldn't get enough information. 

Some of it I'm passing on to you today.

It is elegant with a classically French style,
and is a pure and unique example of early 17th century architecture.
Inside the square, the splendid fountains still have the name of King Louis XIII

who was in power when the square was completed in the 1600s.

boutiques, cafes, art galleries, book stores abound in the arcade.
this is so much fun, just walk around, stop for an espresso, walk
& shop again, then stop for wine & cheese...
nearly bored my husband to death except for the cafes

concert in the arcade

flower boxes in bloom.
there are many individual apartments within PDV today which are occupied.
there is even a time-share apartment which is being offered for about $250,000
for a 1-week period if you're interested

doorway to occupied apartment
cafe's put tables outside in the arcade where you are protected from
the elements.  one of Paris's finest restaurants is located within PDV

a beautiful leaf-framed photo of the architectural wonder

in this photograph the individual townhomes are clearly seen

sunrise, when all is quiet

Brasserie just outside the entrance to PDV, which you can see
in the background, on a busy little street

evening time, looking up at the Pavillon of the King
The Place des Vosges has two major houses.
In the middle of the north side is the Queen Pavillon,
dedicated to the former queen of France.
On the south side is the King Pavillon, Le Pavillon du Roi.
These houses are not open to visitors.

Place des Vosges, evening, when the lights in the apartments are on for us...and all is serene.

Place des Vosges, located in the 4th arrondissement,
was originally known as Place Royale.
This changed after the French Revolution when the region of Vosges,
 in the northeast of France on the border of Luxembourg and
Germany was the first to pay taxes to the new French government.
To honor them, the most beautiful square in Paris was named after this region.

A stroll through Le Marais without visiting Place des Vosges
would be like going to the Champs Elysées
without seeing the Arc de Triomphe!

In total there are 36 houses, nine on each side, build in red brick,
with large symmetrical windows and steep roofs with those large chimneys
that I like so much, for me the total effect of it all was what took my breath away.
actual staircase in PDV

 You can visit the home of Victor Hugo,
the famous author of “Les Miserables.”
It is now a city run museum, fully furnished with period pieces.

“Vue de La Place des Vosges” by Jean-François Janinet, 1810, Châteaux de Versailles et Trianon.
Retrieved from on 04/21/09

Made during the First Empire and before the sporadic name changes, this depiction showcases both the enormity of the plaza and the beauty of the buildings.

The artist has created a union of Napoleonic Empire France
and the France of the past.
Printed prior to the Restoration, this image notes that the magnificent square,
now honoring the Revolution, was created by royalty.

  The wealth and enormity of the city are obvious;
the imposing yet spectacular image of the square affirms that Napoleon
Bonaparte’s post-Revolutionary government has lost none of the
prestige of the Ancien Regime.

A point of particular importance to me, as an Art History student (which also
means "history" student),  is that the actual French royals were responsible
for conceiving and then constructing these magnificient edifaces; their government
was overthrown by a "people's revolution" because of their "extravagance of wealth,"  
but had it not been for the royals none of these
elegant treasures would exist today.
et telle est la vie

please hop over to see ANITA @ CASTLES, CROWN & COTTAGES
where she is hosting a week-long blog party called



3-Strand "Shades of Pink" Acrylic Chain Necklace
retail $90

perfect for summer holidays

gotta follow, gotta leave a comment



Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I adore place des vosges and it was a pleasure learning some more about one of the most interesting garden squares in the world!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


I so agree with you about how stunning it is to consider the beauty of these structures and how they were "modern" technology as we know it, to put together all the necessary components to make such GRAND IMPRESSIONS! I love the architecture of France, whether it's medieval, renaissance or even contemporary. France just has that "Je ne sais quoi" that we love.

(I want to make sure you pop by my blog on Saturday....OK?)

HAVE FUN and many thanks for the stunning photos and effort you have put into this delicious post! Anita

vicki archer said...

Meet you at the Place des Voges, Marsha... whenever you like... :) xv

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Marsha, the Place des Vosages is a beutiful place to while a way the day and walk around and enjoy the sights.

I love your post!

The-Countrypolitan said...

Bonjour mon ami...! Thank you for the lovely tour and history lesson. Espoir vous avez de belles vacances...!

Jeri Landers said...

My goodness, this is an elegant world away from our farm in America... good grief, I just finished shearing a sheep! Quite incredible that such magnificent places exist in our world. Loved the tour, despite my country woman status, I appreciate such history and magnificence and would love to see this firsthand... perhaps one day.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Jeri, I live in Texas, a very far cry from this as well. I had read and re-read about Place des Vosges and absolutely insisted visiting on my 3rd holiday to Paris. It took a while for me to get there too. Lovely meeting you!

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Terri, having a degree in Art History has forced me to learn things I never knew I needed to learn. Now, I treasure this information. It comes back exactly when you need it, doesn't it?

Bonnie said...

Marsha, I loved being your student today reading about the history and viewing your great photos of Place des Vosges. I adore Paris and hope to return and now this is a must stop for me if I am fortunate enough to go again.

I am a new follower and came over from Anita's party. I am having a ball.

Great giveaway.

Draffin Bears said...

Bonjour Marsha,

Lovely to discover your blog and take in all the gorgeous sights and places to go and visit in France. Thank you for the lovely post.

Happy week

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Such a beautiful place, and the pictures are amazing, Marsha!
I certainly hope to make it there at some point.
great giveaway.

Joanne C said...

C'est la perfection ! Very interesting post. Thank you !

French Girl in Seattle said...

Bonjour Marsha. Thank you for stopping by today and for leaving a message chez French Girl in Seattle. I popped right over and found this wonderfully informative post on a favorite Parisian square of mine. And this square is actually... well... square. :-) I was lucky enough to go to college a couple of blocks away from la Place des Vosges during my Parisian years. This means my friends and I got to cram for finals while lounging in the grass in the gardens. How lucky we were, and we did not even know it then :-) Thank you for the memories. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Botanic Bleu said...

What a wonderful post about a Paris treasure tucked away from the main tourist route. Fortunately, I traveled to Paris with two American teachers who taught French and knew all about Place des Vosges. With them, I have had the good fortune to visit more than once. Your images and historical details brought the Place to life again for me.

What an amazing contribution to Anita's FRANCE Simply Irresistible. Absolutely Paris at its finest.


Rhissanna said...

What a fascinating post and what a lovely place! How civilised and serene. Thank you.

The Permanent Tourist said...

Marsha, this is wonderful, but I would expect that from you, dear lady! I'm adding this post to my manifestation board in order to make my dream of revisiting France a reality! I'm meeting so many interesting bloggers through Anita's party.....such fun. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Melissa

Marie - Ange said...

J'adore Paris, j'y ai des amis, j'habite sur la Côte d'Azur, je suis heureuse de vivre en France.

marywyatt said...

Thank you for your lovely post on Place des Vosges - a special and favorite place in Paris. Beautiful pictures and great information. Love the music.

navy and orange said...

gorgeous photos!

xoxo navy & orange

Caroline Silk said...

I love Place de Vosges and sooooo excited I will be there in 98 days ..but who is counting!! We stayed in an apartment for a week just a short walk away and there are 2 other apartments available for short term rentals right next to the square. It may even be the one you mentioned ... L'Atelier de Vosges and Le Palace des Vosges which are part of the Adrian Leeds Parler Paris Apartments - I can highly recommend them, they are quality apartments and a lovely way to immerse yourself in French life and such a beautiful neighbourhood. Soooo excited!!

Caroline Silk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline Silk said...

Mmm I am resending this first try I think is floating in cyberspace!!

J'adore Place des Vosges and sooooo excited as I will be there in 98 days ..but who's counting??
It may be the same apartment you mentioned Marsha, but there are two fabulous short term rentals available right next to the square - Le Palace Des Vosges et L'Atelier De Vosges. They are both part of the Adrian Leeds Parler Apartment Group - and having stayed in one in the Marais and have just booked another - I highly recommend them. A fabulous way to immerse yourself in leading a "little French Life" and immersing your self in a beautiful neighbourhood.

Anonymous said...

My favorite dinner in Paris was in the Place des is the spectacular "Le Grand Vefour"!

I almost fainted! (or had a heart-attack!!)

Brilliant beyond!!!

another wonderful and heartfelt.....and appreciated post!!

thank you !!!