world famous square is located to the
north of the Tuileries Gardens and east
of the Église de la Madeleine.
Designed in 1702 as a monument to the
glory of the armies of Louis XIV, and
it was decided that its shape would be
an octagon. Originally named the Place
Louis le Grand, it had at the time an
equestrian statue of the king set up in
its center. By the time the revolution
was over and Louis XIV was several generations
in the grave the Place Vendôme belonged
to Napoleon I, who erected the column
that currently sits in the center of the
The column in the square’s center,
modelled after Trajan's Column, was made
to celebrate the victory of Austerlitz.
Its spiralling veneers of bas-relief bronze
plates are supposedly made from out of
cannon taken from the combined armies
of Europe. At some point the statue of
Napoleon I was removed, to be replaced
by a statue of Henri IV.
square passed from owner to owner, being
for a while the site of a hotel. Each
owner suffered financial difficulties,
and with each new owner came a new “grand
design” for the square. Originally
the Place was accessible by a single street
and preserved an aristocratic quiet, except
when the annual fair was held there. Napoleon
opened the Rue de la Paix and the 20th
century filled the Place Vendôme
Today the Place Vendome has been famous
for its fashionable and deluxe hotels:
The Ritz Hotel Paris, which is “The
Ritz”, and the Bristol, which Edward
VII preferred, now called “The Vendôme”.
Also, many famous dress designers have
had their salons in the square.