The French capital is famous for its historic squares such as Place de la Concorde and Place des Vosges. Our team has come up with a top 10 most beautiful squares of Paris.
Beautiful squares of Paris
Paris is home to many squares, some large other small. Some are royal squares, others are more functional.
1. Place de la Concorde
The majestic Place de la Concorde is arguably the most prestigious square in Paris and is renowned for its important part in French history. On many occasions, since its creation in the 18th century, the square has been the place chosen for happy or sad national gatherings. The Place de la Concorde, with its amazing fountains and delicate lamp posts, plays a great symbolic part along the Historical Axis.
Ideally placed in the middle of the square, the Luxor Obelisk is 3,500 years old, which makes it the oldest monument standing in Paris. It is 23 metres tall and weighs 220 tons.
Read more about Place de la Concorde.
2. Place des Vosges
The picturesque Place des Vosges is located in the Marais district in Paris, at the junction of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. This excellent example of Louis XIII-style architecture is the oldest planned square in Paris and its charm comes from the regularity of the façades. Often considered as one of Europe’s most beautiful squares, the Place des Vosges, formally named “Place Royale”, is a perfect symmetrical square bordered by 36 buildings, including the Victor Hugo house, now a museum.
Read more about Place des Vosges.
3. Place Dauphine
The triangular-shaped Place Dauphine is located near the western end of the Île de la Cité with an access from the middle of Paris’ older bridge: Pont Neuf. The square, named after Dauphin of France, the future Louis XIII, was laid out in 1609 under King Henri IV while the Place des Vosges was still under construction.
During the 17th century, Place Dauphine and Place des Vosges represented the places where the French royal court used to have their permanent seat.
Read more Place Dauphine.
4. Place Vendôme
The famous Place Vendôme in Paris’ first arrondissement ranks amongst France’s most beautiful squares. Located to the north of the Tuileries Garden, it is a magnificent example of neoclassical architecture in France. A mecca of money and luxury, Place Vendôme provides a base for renowned and prestigious establishments: the Ritz hotel, Cartier, Rolex, Chanel jewellery, as well as the Ministry of Justice; and in its centre the celebrated Column of Vendôme sits enthroned..
Read more Place Vendôme.
5. Place de l’Étoile
The Place de l’Étoile (since renamed “Place Charles de Gaulle”) is a symbolic place, with its configuration of 12 avenues radiating out from the Arc de Triomphe, each bearing the names of illustrious French military leaders: Foch, Marceau, Hoche or Kléber… it is often considered to be the most challenging roundabout for motorists to drive around.
It was Baron Haussmann who approved the square’s design, the one that gave the square its particular star-like shape that we see today. The circular square, 120 metres in diameter, is the centre – the star – from where 12 avenues radiate out in a remarkable geometric pattern.
Read more the Arc de Triomphe.
6. Place de la Bastille
At the limits of the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements, East of the Marais District, the Place de la Bastille is the site where the infamous Bastille prison used to stand. The fortress was destroyed following the events of the “Storming of the Bastille” in 14th July 1789.
In the centre of the square, the 47 metre tall Colonne de Juillet (July Column) commemorates the “Trois Glorieuses”, the three revolutionary days from 27th to 29th July 1830 when King Charles X was replaced by the “Monarchie de Juillet” of King Louis-Philippe.
On the site of the former Bastille railway station stands the monstrous Bastille Opéra.
The square is often associated to political demonstrations which often run from and to Place de la République.
Read more about the Place de la Bastille.
7. Place de Furstemberg
The tiny Place de Furstemberg may be the smallest squares of Paris, nevertheless its charm is undeniable. Located near the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, it owes its name to the famous Prince de Furstenberg, William Egon of Fürstenberg (1629 – 1704). The German clergyman, who was bishop of Strasbourg, retired to the abbey of St-Germain-des-Prés where he died.
In fact, Place de Furstemberg is not technically a square but a street (Rue de Furstemberg) where a small roundabout has been created for traffic. Four pawlonias have been planted in its centre which had a certain romantic feel along with the elegant Parisian-style lamp posts.
Painter Eugène Delacroix used to live there and his former dwelling today houses the Delacroix Museum.
Read more about the neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
8. Place de la République
The historic Place de la République is one of Paris’ biggest square. It is situated at the crossroads of the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements.
The present-day shape of the square is due to Baron Haussmann who worked on a urban renovation of Paris during the Second Empire which the creation of grand and straight axis.
The square’s name honours the newly proclaimed Third Republic (1871-1940). In its centre stands the monumental bronze statue of Marianne (9.5 metre high) sculpted by brothers Léopold and Charles Morice and installed on the 14th July 1883. Marianne is depicted holding an olive branch in her right hand and the Human’s Right tablet on her left.
In June 2013, the Mayor of Paris unveiled the new renovated Place de la République after many years of work, which makes it the largest pedestrian square in the French capital.
9. Place de la Nation
The circular-shaped Place de la Nation is dedicated to French patriotism. The square looks like a great roundabout from where radiate twelve streets, evoking the Place de l’Étoile to the West. It is located to the East of Paris, on the border of the 11th and 12th arrondissements.
The square was formerly known as the “Place du Trône” and “Place du Trône Renversé” until the 14th July 1880.
A grand monument called “Le Triomphe de la République” stands in the centre of the roundabout. It is a bronze statue by Aimé-Jules Dalou (1899) personifying the French Republic riding a chariot pulled by two lions and looking towards Place de la Bastille.
10. Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
The Place de l’Hôtel de Ville borders the Paris City-Hall, a fine Renaissance style building rebuilt between 1873 and 1892.
On its northern side stands the department store of BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville). To the South, the square borders the quays of River Seine.
Before 1802, the public square was known as “Place de Grève“, where unemployed people meet to seek work. Today “faire la grève” (literally to stand on the Grève Square) means “to go on strike“.
There are other interesting squares in Paris worth mentioning:
- Place du Carrousel (near the Louvre)
- Place des Victoires
- Place du Tertre (in Montmartre)
- Place du Trocadéro (facing the Eiffel Tower)
- Place Denfert-Rochereau (with a replica of the Lion of Belfort)
- Place Vauban (bordering the Hôtel des Invalides)
- Place Victor Hugo
- Place d’Italie
- Place des Ternes
- Place de l’Opéra
- Place Léon Blum
- Place Félix Éboué
(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs
- arch = arc (m)
- cathedral = cathédrale (f)
- city-hall = hôtel de ville (m)
- church = église (f)
- monument = monument (m)
- palace = palais (m)
- Republic = République (f)
- roundabout = rond-point (m)
- square = place (f)
- statue = statue (f)
- street = rue (f)
- strike = grève (f)
- triumphal arch = arc de triomphe (m)