The parisian squares


Place de Stalingrad et bassin de la Villette


The rotunda of Place de Stalingrad was constructed in 1789 by LeDoux to watch over the two toll barriers on the roads to Flanders and Germany.
The Place de Stalingrad was redesigned in 1989 by Bernard Huet and a large pedestrian square was created, the rotunda was restored at the same time and is now occupied by the Commission for the Evaluation of Old Paris.


Place des Innocents: la fontaine des Innocents, place Jean du Bellay


Bearing the name of a neighbouring church, cimetière des Innocents has been situated here since the gallo-roman period. From the 12th to the 18th century, this was the principal Parisian cemetery for parishes that did not have cemeteries and for the Hôtel-Dieu hospital.

When the cemetery was removed in 1786, the remains of two million people buried there were exhumed and transferred to the ancient caves, which then became the catacombs, of Denfert-Rochereau (14th arrondissement).

In 1788, after the transfer of the cemetery, the fountain was placed in the centre of the new square and Pajou added a fourth face to it.

In front of n° 11 de la rue de la Ferronnerie, a marking on the ground indicates the position of the carriage of Henri IV when he was assassinated there in 1610.

Place Denfert-Rochereau (Métro : Denfert-Rochereau)

The square was created in 1784. Formerly known as place d’Enfer (place of Hell), it was renamed for the defender of Belfort against the Germans, Colonel Denfert-Rochereau. He led the resistance that allowed Belfort to remain French territory, while the neighbouring Alsace had been ceded to Germany. In the centre of the square, a replica of the lion sculpted by Bertholdi in Belfort commemorates the victory.


Place des Fêtes

Created in 1836 to provide the residents of Belleville with an area for festivities, the aspect of the square was profoundly changed by the construction of tall apartment blocks all around it in the 1970’s. The square was redesigned in 1995-96 by Bernard Huet, the architect of the new Champs-Elysées.



Place des Victoires (Métro : Bourse, Sentier)
(architecte Jules Hardouin-Mansart, 1685)


Place des Victoires was created by a skilled courtisan on the occasion of the victory of Louis XIV at Nijmegen in 1678. François d’Aubusson, duke of La Feuillade ordered a statue depicting the king in a coronation robe, being crowned by Victory and crushing a three-headed monster, symbolising the defeated powers of the Triple-Alliance. The current statue dates from 1822 and the square is now mainly occupied by a number of elegant fashion shops.


Place des Vosges (Métro : Bastille, St-Paul)

Henri IV decided in 1605 to have a square constructed that would house manufacturers of silk. The works were completed in 1612. The square is surrounded by 36 pavilions (9 on each side), of which the pavilion of the king and that of the queen were the first constructed.
Initially named Place Royale, it took the name of Place des Vosges towards 1800 in honour of the first department to pay its taxes. Victor Hugo resided for almost 16 years at n°6, Place des Vosges and it is today possible to visit his former home.


Place du Caire

The passage du Caire and its neighbouring streets owe their names (and their decoration) to the craze for anything Egyptian that followed Bonaparte’s expedition there in 1798.





Place du Châtelet (Métro : Châtelet)

The square was established in 1808 at the site of the old fortress of Châtelet which protected the entrance to Paris until 1802. Redesigned in the 1860’s by Haussmann, the square is closed in between the théâtre du Châtelet (Le théâtre du Châtelet) and the théâtre de la Ville (Le théâtre de la ville de Paris), directed by Sarah Bernhardt from 1898 to 1923.


Place du marché Sainte-Catherine (Métro : Saint-Paul)

The surrounding buildings date from the 18th century, but this little square is typical of the middle ages: the view is closed on all sides, hence the difficulty in finding it.





Place du marché Saint-Honoré
(Métro : Pyramides, Opéra)
(Architecte Ricardo Bofill, 1997)

It was in this place that, two centuries ago, the convent of the Jacobins turned into a revolutionary club in 1789. In the 19th century, four “Baltard” style pavilions were built to accommodate a market, after which the square was named. Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill oversaw the construction in 1997 of offices for the Paribas bank. He built a great glazed hall, “fluid and transparent”, in homage to Baltard.


Place du Panthéon

Conceived by Soufflot to open up the view from the Panthéon, the Place du Panthéon is walled in by two buildings of the classical semi-circular façades.





• Place du Tertre (Métro : Anvers)

Formerly situated against the cloister wall of Montmartre Abbey, the village square is now entirely devoted to tourism: café terraces and the easels of portrait and caricature artists now welcome visitors. It was at the restaurant, La Mère Catherine, that the Russian word bistro (quick) made its first appearance, brought by the occupying Russians who made their camp in 1814 on the hill.

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