Place Vendôme

Paris, France

Place Vendôme

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The Place Vendôme (French pronunciation: ​[plas vɑ̃dom]), earlier known as Place Louis-le-Grand, and also as Place Internationale, is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens and east of the Église de la Madeleine. It is the starting point of the Rue de la Paix. Its regular architecture by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and pedimented screens canted across the corners give the rectangular Place Vendôme the aspect of an octagon. The original Vendôme Column at the centre of the square was erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz; it was torn down on 16 May 1871, by decree of the Paris Commune, but subsequently re-erected and remains a prominent feature on the square today.

The Place Vendôme was begun in 1698 as a monument to the glory of the armies of Louis XIV, the Grand Monarque, and called Place des Conquêtes, to be renamed Place Louis le Grand, when the conquests proved temporary. An over life-size equestrian statue of the king by François Girardon (1699) was donated by the city authorities and set up in its centre. It is believed to be the first large modern equestrian statue to be cast in a single piece. It was destroyed in the French Revolution; however, there is a small version in the Louvre. This led to the popular joke that while Henri IV dwelled among the people by the Pont Neuf, and Louis XIII among the aristocrats of the Place des Vosges, Louis XIV preferred the company of the tax farmers in the Place Vendôme; each reflecting the group they had favoured in life.

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