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Place des Vosges

ImageThe Place des Vosges is the oldest square in Paris.  The square was laid out by Henri IV between 1605 and 1612.  All the buildings surrounding the square follow the same design.  Originally called the Place Royal, it was renamed in 1800 after Vosges, the first region of France to pay taxes under the new regime of Napoleon.  Many famous Frenchmen lived in the houses surrounding the green.  The home of Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables is now a museum dedicated to him.

Today the square is lined with cafes and shops.  Soak up some rays on the green or enjoy a cup of coffee – it’s a great place to relax.  Place des Vosges is located in Paris’ Marais district (French for swamp), one of the city’s oldest and trendiest.  

Starting in the sixteenth century, nobles began buying up the small farms that made up the area.  For a long time it was the city’s wealthiest neighborhood, but by the mid-20th century it had started to deteriorate. Many of the spectacular Hôtel particuliers, private mansions built by the nobles, were in danger.  In the 1960s, a successful restoration effort was undertaken.  Modern Marais is a hip and bohemian neighborhood, with great shopping, art galleries, museums, and nightlife.

Metro: Saint-Paul (1), Bastille (1, 5, 8), Chemin Vert (8)

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