(b. 1646, Paris, d. 1708, Marly-le-Roi)

View of the Place Vendôme, Paris

begun 1698
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

In 1685 Louis XIV bought the site of the Hotel Vendôme from the bankrupt owner, the Duc of Vendôme, with the intention of making an arcaded square with building to house the royal library and the various academies. The first project was dropped, and the finally completed Place Vendôme is a square with the corners cut off, closed except form two openings which form its main axis. On the axis stood Girardon's equestrian statue of the King, facing one of the openings. The buildings which surrounded the place were decorated with a colossal Order of pilasters, broken by frontispieces with half-columns at the centres of each side and at the cut-off corners.

From the eighteenth century the square has suffered increasing degradations, so that it is now hardly possible to imagine its original appearance which is shown in the present eighteenth-century engraving.