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With over four hundred years of history, Place des Vosges is the oldest square in Paris!

Located in the sophisticated, refined, and secluded Marais neighborhood, this architectural and urban-planning masterpiece is, for its characteristic form, the Place Royale, or royal square model, which spread throughout France in the seventeenth century, as well as to other European countries. Its porticoes now host the art galleries, antique shops, cafes, and restaurants that have contributed to its revival after several decades where the square was almost exclusively occupied by large stores and warehouses.

I suggest you make a scenic entrance using one of the two entrance points at the base of the King and Queen's Pavilions, which have never actually been inhabited by any monarch, and go straight to the central garden that was created at the end of the 17th century.

You can admire the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIII in the center, which was rebuilt in the early 1800's after the original one had been removed by Cardinal Richelieu and demolished during the French Revolution.

The monument's pedestal is an excellent observation point in the square, unless your view is obstructed by the trees' fronds, in which case I suggest admiring the square from one of the four symmetrical fountains at the corners of the green space.

The view from the center is definitely the best for appreciating the harmonious and perfectly square architectural whole, which consists of nine identical apartment blocks. Each set of buildings has deep porticoes, and in each of three floors with attics you can see four windows lined with white limestone alternating with red bricks, in contrast with the gray-blue slate of the roofs. The only exception are the two royal pavilions, which are a bit higher and protrude somewhat into the interior of the square.


FUN FACT: if you want to feel a bit like Commissioner Maigret, come here at night and look for the place, or rather the building of the crime of "The Shadow Puppet", one of Georges Simenon's first and most famous of 70 novels.

In fact, the shadows that stretch on the ground or on the walls are really kind of unsettling, especially in the midst of the soft light cast by the picturesque lanterns and lampposts of this very suggestive square!

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