Called the “Palais Royal” by Evelyn, the Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the finest in the city. It is located in the Marais district.
Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henry IV from 1605 to 1612. A true square (140 m × 140 m) – Evelyn calls it “a fair quadrangle of stately palaces” – it embodied the first European program of royal city planning. It was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens: at a tournament at the Tournelles, a royal residence, Henry II was wounded and died. Catherine de Medicis had the Gothic complex demolished, and she removed to the Louvre Palace.