Great Place Wednesday: Place des Vosgues; Paris, FR

Place des Vosgues is located in the Third Arrondissement of Paris, and one of the premier urban parks of Europe. Established between 1605 and 1612 as the Place Royale, it was originally home to a royal residence of Henry IV. The prototypical “residential square,” the park is now surrounded by elegant residential townhomes.

Place des Vosgues is a perfect square, measuring 140 meters by 140 meters (420′ x 420′), and is a perfect example of French landscape design.   With perfect symmetry, and intricately controlled and pruned trees, French gardens are all about elegance, precision, and straight lines.

While the Place Royale was a private garden for aristocracy only, the Place des Vosgues is a public green space, and is one of Paris’s busiest parks.  Because the district of Vosges was the first to pay taxes to the new Republic of France following the French Revolution, the Place Royale was renamed in 1799 to honor their commitment to a new society.

A “bosquet” of linden trees lines the park, providing much needed shade, and a strong perimeter to the space.

Cardinal Richeleu, one of the Place Royale’s most famous tenants, installed a statue of King Louis XIII in the 17th Century. It was pulled down and melted during the Revolution, but a replacement was installed in 1825.