PARIS ON A SHOESTRING

How to visit Paris on a budget secrets, tips and tricks

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Famous Squares in Paris

1.Place de la Bastille

The Place de la Bastille is a famous square known for its July column, erected by Alavoine in the year 1833 in honour of the citizens who fought for civil liberties during the time. The place stands in a crepidoma (a 3-level Greek architectural foundation.) Under the square, lies the 500 remains of the victims of the 1830 and 1848 war. The work of Dumont, the Génie de la Liberté (Spirit of Freedom) in gilded bronze stands in the summit of the square. To reach the Place de la Bastille, one can take the Bastille station (line 1, 5, 8).

2.Place du Palais Royal

Place du Palais Royal is the square associated with the Palais Royal, which is the former residence of Cardinal Richelieu who bequeaths the Palais Royal to the French crown upon his death. The Place du Palais Royal is one of the three squares that border the Palais Royal gardens together with the Place de la Colette and Place du Théâtre. Théâtre du “Petit Cardinal” (Petit Cardinal Theatre) formerly stands on the corners of Rue de Valois and the Rue Saint-Honoré where Moliere used to play. Tourist can take the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (line 1) metro station to go to the Place du Palais Royal square.

3.Place Charles-de-Gaulle

Formerly known as the Place de l’Etoile or the “Square of the Star”, the square was renamed afterwards to Place Charles de Gaulle in honour of the death of General and President Charles de Gaulle. The square is the meeting square constructed by the Marquis de Marigny. The 12 avenues are the: De Wagram, Hoche, De Friedland, Des Champs-Élysées, Marceau, d’Iéna, Kléber, Victor Hugo, Foch, de la Grande-Armée, Carnot and Mac-Mahon. It is also symmetrically perfect forming the six axes. The square ends in converging itself in Arc de Triomphe. To reach Place Charles de Gaulle take metro station Charles de Gaulle Etoile (line 2).

4.Place du Tertre

Only a few feet away from the Montmartre’s Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Lapin Agile lies the Place du Tertre. The Place du Tertre is the heart of Montmartre’s modern art. One could see artists lining up the streets with their easel waiting for tourist or even locals to commission them. Renowned artist like Picasso and Ultrillo live there during the time that they are impoverished and paint portraits as means of livelihood. A few steps from Place du Tertre is the L’Espace Salvador Dalí museum dedicated to the sculptures and drawings of the great Salvador Dali, a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres.

5.Place de la Concorde

A witness to such grand major events in the history example of which is the execution of King Louis XVI, the Place de la Concorde retains its beauty up to the present. The octagonal shape square has an Egyptian obelisk in the centre of the square, which is a gift from the Viceroy of Egypt to King Charles X. One can also see a magnificent view of the Madeleine, the Palais-Bourbon, the triumphal route towards the Arc de Triomphe and the Défense, and towards the Louvre. The square is also known for its magnificent columns, which were renovated recently in 1995, and statutes.

6.Place Vendôme

Known for its classical architecture masterpieces dating from the time of King Louis VIX, the square is also known for its Vendome columns and the wonderful and exquisite designs of the houses surrounding the square. A restoration was ordered by the government to restore the original 18th century design of the square after it became a parking space for locals and tourist shopping in the area. Today, the Place Vendome is known as the haven for shopping and luxury items and activities abound in the area. One can reached the Place Vendome by taking the metro Madeleine (line 8) station.

7.Place des Victoires

Known for its magnificent structural designs and architectural concepts, the square serves as model for future squares in Paris. The Place des Victoires was designed by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart in the 17th century and became a major tourist and local attraction site in the past. The sculptor Bosio built an equestrian statute in replacement of the statute of King Louis XIV, which was destroyed along with other squares’ statutes during the French Revolution. Located in the Place des Victoires in 75002 Paris, tourist and locals can take the metro Louvre-Rivoli, les Halles (line 1, 4) station to reach the square.

8.Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges is an ideal example of a perfect layout type of square during the period and it was the first example of King Henri IV interest with town planning. The square is composed of forty houses made from bricks and stones, which is built over arcades. The Place des Vosges have beautiful magnificent fountains in reflection of the period. Other famous personalities who reside in the houses are philosopher Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier and Alphonse Daudet. The Place des Vosges is located in Place des Vosges in 75004 Paris, local and tourists can take the metro station Saint-Paul (line 1).

9.Place Dauphine

After the Place des Vosges was built by King Henri VI, the Place Dauphine became the second 17th century royal Parisian square built. The Place Dauphine was built on the site of three little islands on the Ile de la Cité. All the houses in the square were built using bricks and stones as materials, the same with the Place des Vosges. The triangular space, which encloses the area, preserves the air of peace and tranquillity of the place. Located in Place Dauphine in 75001 Paris, locals and tourist can take the metro station Cité, Saint-Michel Notre Dame (line 4).

10.Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

A witness to executions as well as festivities, the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, was used to be called as Place de Grève until 1803 when its name was change to the present name. The festival of Saint Jean was also noted for it being a grand event in Paris and being held in the square annually. Today, the square is a sight of peace and serenity with fountains and flowers scattering around the place. Located in Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in 75004 Paris, one can take the metro station Hôtel de Ville (line 1) to visit the square.