Paris “Grand Siècle” 1 : Place des Vosges

Most of gorgeous and significant remains of French “Grand Siècle” (seventeenth century) are to be seen in the “Marais” (the swamp). You certainly don’t need to wear rubber boots to take a walk around, though rubber boots are very much in style this season, and besides historical places and monuments, there are a lot of fashion shops in this area.

It’s a very popular place too, for many shops are opened on Sunday. Weather is quite hectic in March this year – as it is supposed to be in Paris – but last week-end was sunny, and there was a crowd resting in Place des Vosges garden and window shopping in rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

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The edification of ” Place des Vosges” was started by king Henry IV and achieved in1612 for the engagement day of Louis XIII and Anne, princess of Austria. It is the most ancient square in Paris, and also a play ground for children, a wi fi zone, and a great place to hang about.

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It is a square surrounded by all similar red brick and white stone elegant houses with slate roofs and tall windows.

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Before French Revolution, it was called “place Royale“, and in the garden stands a statue featuring king Louis XIII on horseback.

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It is circled by arcades.

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Victor Hugo’s house is at #6, and it is a museum you can visit. Many stores, fashion designer Issey Miyake, funny hats, an art deco shop, a lot of art galleries, bars and restaurants, and street musicians…

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like this counter tenor singer who performs almost every week-end on rue de Béarn corner.

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If you feel hungry, you might stop at # 19, Ma Bourgogne, a typical bistrot parisien with a great view, good food and good wines. But warning, you’ll need some cash : no credit card, and not really cheap.

Place des Vosges, 75003 et 75004 Paris Metro Bastille, Saint-Paul, Chemin-Vert. Access south : rue de Birague, east : rue du Pas de la Mule, north : rue de Béarn, west : rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

Ma Bourgogne 19 place des Vosges tel 33(0)1 42 78 44 64 Métro Saint-Paul, everyday 8 AM 1.30 AM.

Maison de Victor Hugo, 6 place des Vosges, Métro Bastille, Saint-Paul, tel 33(0)1 42 72 10 16, everyday except Monday 10 to 18. Free entrance. www.musee-hugo.paris.fr/

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