Thursday, May 23, 2013

Place des Vosges

My travel plans for the upcoming buying trip are falling into place quite well.  Being summer in Paris, the loveliest weather at the time I am going, and me booking so late - there are few hotels that can take me for all the days that I will be there!

This is a great opportunity for me to hop around and stay in a few different neighbourhoods, which I love to do; the best way to explore!  It is one thing to get a taxi or a metro to see new parts of Paris, and quite another to wake up and wander around to see the cafes and stores just outside the door to your hotel!

I was given the book "Paris Hotel Stories" years ago, and from its pages have fallen in love with the hotel Pavillon de la Reine, on the Place des Vosges in the Marais, mostly from reading these phrases:

"Go through the vaulted hallway and then, like Alice, open the glass door - and suddenly you are in a quiet little garden, surrounded by bushes, ivy and the smell of freshly cut grass. .... You haven't even set foot inside the lobby, yet somehow you feel you've already been welcomed."  François Simon

And so by coincidence, the only two nights accommodation they have available are the two nights after I arrive, and it will be precisely what I need after my 28 hour journey!

The hotel is on the oldest square in Paris, Place des Vosges, straddling the boundary of the 3eme and 4eme arrondisement.  The square was built by Henri IV, building beginning in 1605, when he embarked on what was an early example of urban planning.

Map of Paris, 1550, showing Les Tournelles
Determined to rid Paris of its medieval image, he rased the collection of 'old fashioned' royal buildings on the site, Les Tournelles, and installed in it's place a square - originally named Place Royale.  The king ordered all 35 buildings around the square to follow the same design as his own royal pavillion at the south end, designed by Baptiste du Cerceau.

In today's property terms, this would have been an upmarket property development with an iron-clad design covenant in the contract!  Houses around the square were to be made of brick and stone, with grey slate roofs and all constructed over arcades.

Sounds like Paris to us?

What a comparison for then though - and so very modern it must have been - in stark contrast to the wooden medieval buildings all around!

With only a short walk to some of my favourites like the Merci Merci concept store {post here} and the small antique and brocante square of le Village Saint-Paul, it won't be long before I do feel quite recovered, and am finding lots of lovely things to bring home!

I will be sure to keep you posted once I am there!

Jennifer x

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