Paris. A travel destination so often talked about that some travellers doubt its attractiveness and assume it is hugely overrated every time they hear its name. For me personally, Paris was long a dream destination. Later, I reached the mental state of the potential visitors from the previous lines. Eventually, though, I got to fulfil my dream and form my own opinion of the French capital.
It is not the goal of this post to give you my detailed opinion of Paris. Rather, I would like to bring you a taste of its staggering 17th-century squares which laid the foundation of the Parisian architectural style for centuries to come.
We visit two distinct squares in slightly different areas of Paris, both of which are located in the central parts of the city.
First, we explore Place Dauphine located on the renowned island of Île de la Cité. This island is where you would find one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, the Notre-Dame Cathedral. However, the square is located on the opposite side of the island which means it is significantly less busy than the touristy area near the world-famous cathedral.
Place Dauphine is one of the first squares in Paris in the sense as we know them today and it was commissioned by King Henri IV in the early years of the 17th century. In my eyes, the most charming thing about the triangular square is the eye-catching facades of the historical houses lining it.
The images that you find below all come from the oldest square in Paris, originally known as Place Royale. Today called Place des Vosges, it was built only a couple of years before Place Dauphine, and Henri IV is also to thank for the existence of this place. The ‘square’ has a shape of a true square with all of its sides being 140 metres long.
During the 17th and 18th century, Place Royale became popular among the Parisian nobility and laid the foundation for the entire district of Le Marais which became the centre of the fashion world in Paris.
Things had changed somewhat at the square after the French Revolution when it was also renamed to Place des Vosges in the move to get rid of all aspects of the country honouring the former monarchs. However, an equestrian statue of Louis XIII erected on the command of Cardinal Richelieu remains to be one of the central elements at the breathtaking square to this day.
These are only a few of many free stock photos from Paris I am going to bring you in the following weeks. If you would like to stay in touch so that you are informed when I add more, simply sign up for our newsletter below. For more stock photos from numerous European metropolises, check out our Photos page.