Paris's most romantic square.
Once a setting for romantic trysts and pistols at dawn, the beautiful arcaded Place des Vosges was Paris's first planned square. Laid out by Henri IV in 1605, with 36 identical red brick and stone pavilions and the king's and queen's pavilions at either end, it set the way for the city's grand set pieces and yet it's not pompous. Rather, it's a much-loved intimate local square, where children charge about on climbing frames, for playing pétanque or simply lazing in the sun. Under the arcades, you'll find small art galleries, the lovely Pavillon de la Reine hotel, the Maison de Victor Hugo – the writer's former apartment – and the back entrance to the beautiful Hôtel de Sully, as well as some of Paris's most desirable apartments. And this being France, of course there are also places to eat, including popular old bistro Ma Bourgogne.