(active after 1605 in Paris)

General view

begun 1605
Place des Vosges, Paris

The ground was laid for classicism during the regime of Henry IV (reg 1589-1610). The buildings for which Henry IV was directly responsible must be considered in two groups: the additions to the royal palaces, and the improvements to the city of Paris. Of the former the finest example is the stable courtyard portal built by Rémy Collin in a square court (Cour des Offices) open on one side towards the Cour de l'Ovale.

Far more revolutionary are Henry IV's improvements to the city of Paris. It was in accordance with his general policy that he should want to embellish his capital, and in keeping with his character that his improvements should be of a very practical kind. In twelve years he completed the Pont Neuf, built the Place Royale and the Place Dauphine and began the Place de France, created the Hôpital Saint-Louis and laid the foundations of the Collège Royal. In these works Henry IV brought town-planning to a new stage and established certain principles which were to influence the development of Paris for several centuries.

By the beginning of the 17th century the tide of ornament had became typical for architects to rely simply on the contrast between rusticated quoins at the salient points of their structures and rendered or unrendered brick infill. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the relatively modest houses surrounding the Place Dauphine (1607-15) and the Place Royale (from 1605; now Place des Vosges), which Henry IV laid out in Paris as the nuclei for ordered development in the city.

The Place Royale was conceived in 1604 and carried out from 1605 onwards. It was built on the site of the old royal palace of the Tournelles, which was abandoned by Catherine de' Medici after the death of Henry II in the tournament held there. The style of the houses was simple. We find on the ground floor an arcaded cloister. The elevation in the upper storeys has stucco 'chaines' against the brick, and there are very simple dormers.

View the site plan of Place des Vosges, Paris.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.