Place Vendôme

A large lavish square located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, the creation of Place Vendôme was inspired by Louis XIV. As far as its location goes, the Place Vendôme is located south to the Tuileries garden, with The Madeleine being located on its western end. It adopts an octagonal shape, and has an octagonal column located right on its heart.

The original plan to create a square came in the beginning of the 18th century when Louis XIV thought the creation of a monument was in order after he achieved victory in battle. At this time it was called The Conquest Square, but was later renamed as Louis the Great Square after his victories proved to be short lived. The buildings put up around the square were designed to have matching facades, with the ground floors being arcaded, and the second window floors having an exaggerated tall design. There were many intentions developed for a square, most notably building some lots which would yield profit over the long term. But like the many other plans conceived, most of them failed to be seen through due to financial difficulties.

The first thing you notice after you arrive at the square is the central column. Named Colonne Vendôme, the column was built on the commission of Napoleon to commemorate his Austerlitz victory. Before it was put up, there was an equestrian statue of the Sun King, but it was destroyed during the French Revolution. The Vendôme came as a replacement many years later. On top of the column, a bronze statue of Napoleon was put up. He was cast as a bareheaded king, with a globe in his left hand and a sword in his right. There were reliefs built into the column, and they are depictive of the wars at the time of Napoleon I. The statue was thought as extravagant and was intended to be pulled down in the mid1810s, but its strong built proved overpowering. It was however torn down during the Bourbon Restoration with the theory being the bronze metal used to create the statue would have an equestrian statue of Henry IV. It was replaced twice, first by Louis Philippe, and later by Napoleon III in 1883. Previously the column was named the Victory column and later the Column of the Great Army. The name Vendôme Column stuck and it is the one in use today.

The Vendôme Square retains a high profile even today, being considered as one of Paris’ expensive places, with fashionable names and jewellers having their stores in the square. It was not always like this, and the square was initially a serene and modest area. But the creation of the Rue de la Paix, a classy shopping street and the building of the Opera Garnier, the Place Vendôme opened up and burst forth with life. Now, the square plays host to a number of boutiques with world class appeal. There are residential quarters in the square as well, and as one would conclude they are extravagant and lavish. There are also two hotels in the square, both of which are classified as luxury hotels.

The Vendôme Square is one of the luxury places in Paris. But besides its world class boutiques and jewellers, the simplicity of its past is not completely hidden. Its convenient location makes it an easy place to visit as you visit the nearby Palais Garnier. During the months of summer is when the square is at its busiest, with shoppers from Paris and beyond wanting to get a taste of the finer things in life offered at the Place Vendôme.