Place Vendôme: A History


Place Vendôme: An Ode to Riches

Standing tall in one of the most expensive areas to stay in in Paris is Place Vendôme. Surrounded by classy hotels and haute couture, Napoleon's column occupies some price real estate. I mean rue de la Paix is the most expensive street in French monopoly, so that must give you an indication, right? So what is the history behind this column that seems to watch over all the high class hotels and luxury stores in Paris?

Made for Louis XIV

The place, or square, itself was constructed in the early 1700s for Louis XIV. The joke was that Henri IV had the Pont Neuf, but Louis XIV had place Vendôme, where all the aristocrats were. Of course the title of the square had changed many times over the years, sometimes bearing Louis XIV's name, the place was already a center of riches.

Column Built for Napoleon

Napoleon had the column built to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz. It was modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome. On top of the column stands Napoleon looking down at the victory of his army. Of course who else would want a column to remember themselves in the style of the Ancient Romans but Napoleon.

Details of the Column
Destroyed by the Bourbons
After the restoration of the monarchy, the column was dismantled. Everything was taken down but it was preserved, not destroyed. But the bronze statue of Napoleon was melted down to help rebuilt the state of Henri IV at the Pont Neuf.

Rebuilt Again

Since the column was not destroyed, in the 1870s there was big debate over what to do with it. People thought of preserving it in l'Hotel des Invalides. But eventually, it was rebuilt in its original place. And a new statue of Napoleon was built at the top once again.

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