Place Vendôme

At the heart of the 1st arrondissement of Paris, where Rue de Castiglione meets Rue de la Paix, this pure jewel of French classicism is the setting for the Vendôme column, in its centre. 

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l'hôtel brighton la place vendôme

Place Vendôme has shaped the neighbouring district into a prestigious area, a synonym for high-quality jewellery, fashion and luxury hotels, like the Hôtel Brighton. Luxury is the keynote of the Vendôme district,  which is also a favoured home of financial institutions, banks and law firms.

One of the most beautiful squares in Paris 

Place Vendôme takes its name from the Hôtel de Vendôme which stood on this site. The square has changed its name several times during its history. It was originally called Place Louis Le Grand, in reference to the Sun King. He was behind the initiative to create a square here, which he wanted to be on a grand scale as a façade for the institutions of the monarchy.

This costly project was soon given up, but later taken over in a new form for the city of Paris by the architect Jules Hardouin Mansart. In the centre stood an impressive statue of Louis XIV, requested by the King himself and made by Girardon, at the top of a column that was destroyed during the French Revolution. During the Revolution, the square was named "Place des Piques" ("Pikes Square").

Today it houses several famous establishments. One of the first belonged to the banker John Law, who set up business here in 1718, and then the great names in jewellery: Cartier, Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Rolex, Chanel Joaillerie, as well as the luxury hotel the Ritz, which is currently being renovated. The Justice Ministry is also based here. 

The Vendôme column near the Hôtel Brighton

This famous column was erected by  Napoleon to commemorate the victory at Austerlitz and pay homage to the Grande Armée. It was nearly 45 metres in height, and was inspired by the Trajan column in Rome. The bas reliefs made from bronze of the defeated armies retrace the military achievements of the army. The statue of Napoleon as Cesar was placed at the summit of the column in 1810.

On Napoleon's death, the statue in Place Vendôme was destroyed. During the Second Empire, a copy of the statue was made and placed at the top of the column.

During the insurrection of the Paris Commune the imperial column in Place Vendôme was destroyed. At the end of this bloody period, the Versailles government held the painter Gustave Courbet responsible for demolishing the column. He was made to pay the expenses needed to rebuild it. 

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