Place Vendôme

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Place Vendôme par Esprit de France

After visiting Chanel’s favourite street, the obvious direction is Place Vendôme which the famous designer used to cross every day to spend the night at the Ritz. She lived there for 40 years, first of all in a suite overlooking the square and later in a room facing rue Cambon. The square, which is considered today as one of the most luxurious in the world, has had different names and not such a good reputation in the past. Designed by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and built in 1699, the square offered all owners an indentical architecture. It was commissioned to glorify the monarchy and initially named Place Louis Le Grand in tribute to the king. During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XIV was destroyed and the square renamed Place des Piques. It went on to become the Place Internationale in 1871 during the second Paris Commune. Napoléon 1st had the Vendôme column raised in 1810 in the centre of the square in tribute to the Grand Army and the victory of Austerlitz using the bronze from captured enemy cannons. Architects Jacques Gondouin and Jean-Baptiste Lepère copied important features from the fighting on the Trajane column to make the spiral of bas-reliefs topped by a statue of the emporer dressed as Caesar. This statue was taken down in 1814 and the column destroyed to make place for a new statue of Napoléon by Auguste Dumont. The square was finally named Place Vendôme in memory of the Hôtel Vendôme which stood there prior to the major alterations and establishment of the square.

Located between the prestigious rue de la Paix and la rue de Castiglione, the octagonal square’s transformation to it’s current status started at the end of the 19th century. The best jewellery makers of the day, up until then confined to rue de Rivoli, wanted to be closer to Opéra Garnier. So they moved there, taking the competition, master clock makers and designer fashion with them. The Ritz first opened for business at this time too. Two centuries later the square is still world famous and the most beautiful stones and jewellery creations are on show in the shop windows for passers-by to stop and admire.