In 1686, Louis XIV decided the time had come to design a magnificent square, at the center of which would stand a statue of His Royal Highness. Though the statue is long gone, this is still one of the classiest squares in the city. The work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, today this über-elegant octagonal ensemble of 17th-century buildings is the home of the original Ritz Hôtel, as well as the world’s most glitzy jewelry makers, including Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Boucheron. The famous statue reigned over the square up until the Revolution, when it was melted down for scrap. When Napoleon took over, he decided it was the perfect place for a huge Roman-style column honoring his glorious army (yes, once again), this time documenting its victory at Austerlitz. A long spiral of bas-reliefs recounting the campaign of 1805 marches up the Colonne de la Grande Armée, which was crowned by a statue of the Emperor himself. The original statue did not survive the regime; a few decades later, Napoleon III replaced it with the existing copy.
Enter by rue de Castiglione, 1st arrond
Our Rating Neighborhood Louvre & Île de la Cité (1st Arrondissement) Transportation Métro: Tuileries or Concorde
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