Place Vendôme in Paris has a rich and storied history.
The square was laid out in 1702 as a monument to the glory of the armies of Louis XIV, the Sun King. It was initially named Place des Conquêtes and then later Place Louis-le-Grand, before finally receiving its current name.
The construction of Place Vendôme was directed by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and it was built on the order of King Louis XIV. The original design featured a statue of the king on horseback at its center, but this statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. It was later replaced by the Vendôme Column, modeled after Trajan’s Column in Rome, to celebrate Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory at Austerlitz in 1805.
The surrounding buildings were constructed in a uniform and symmetrical style to form a harmonious architectural ensemble. Over the years, Place Vendôme has become a symbol of luxury and elegance, housing renowned jewelry boutiques and high-end establishments.
Throughout history, Place Vendôme has been a center for political and cultural activity. It has witnessed numerous historical events, including being the location for the signing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years’ War.
Today, Place Vendôme continues to be a prominent landmark in Paris, reflecting the rich history and elegance of the city. It is well known for the luxury boutiques which surround it as well as one of the best 5-star Paris hotels, the Hôtel Ritz.
Famous For Fine Jewelry
If there’s one common theme about who inhabits the square, it’s certainly the fine jewelers. The association of Place Vendôme with luxury and jewelry houses can be traced back to the early 19th century. Its prestige and location in the heart of Paris made it a desirable location for businesses catering to an elite clientele.
Boucheron, one of the most renowned jewelers, was the first to open a boutique at Place Vendôme in 1893. Frédéric Boucheron chose No. 26 Place Vendôme for the location, as it was the sunniest spot in the square, which allowed his diamonds to sparkle brightly. He believed this would help attract the attention of potential clients.
The opening of Boucheron at Place Vendôme marked the beginning of a transformation of the square into a hub for high-end jewelry. The success of Boucheron’s boutique attracted other prestigious jewelers to the area.
Place Vendôme soon became synonymous with luxury and craftsmanship, solidifying it as the most prestigious address for fine jewelry in the world.
The trend continued throughout the 20th century, with other renowned jewelry houses opening their doors in the square. This clustering of luxury brands formed the square’s global reputation as an emblem of elegance and refined taste.
The Home of the Ritz Hotel
The Ritz Paris, located in Place Vendôme, has a fascinating history that has contributed to its reputation as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.
The hotel was founded by César Ritz, a Swiss hotelier, in collaboration with renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier. It was opened on June 1, 1898, and quickly became a symbol of opulence and high society.
César Ritz aimed to create a hotel that offered the utmost comfort and luxury, coining the term “king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings.” He paid attention to every detail, from the lavish decor to impeccable service, setting new standards for hospitality.
Throughout the years, the Ritz Paris has been a favored destination for royalty, celebrities, and political figures. Iconic figures such as Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were regular patrons. Chanel even lived in the hotel for a period.
The hotel was also the first in Europe to provide en-suite bathrooms, electricity in every room, and other modern amenities that set a new standard in the hotel industry.
During World War II, the Ritz Paris was requisitioned by the Germans and served as the headquarters for Luftwaffe officers. Following the liberation of Paris, it was also briefly used by the Allied forces.
In 2016, the hotel underwent an extensive four-year renovation that aimed to preserve its historic charm while integrating modern conveniences. It reopened with a blend of tradition and innovation that continues to reflect the legacy of César Ritz.
The Ritz Paris remains a symbol of elegance and luxury, and its connection to Place Vendôme contributes to the prestige of both the hotel and the historic square.
75001 Paris, France