Place des Victoires

A circular royal square at the heart of Paris built in honour of the Sun King

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La Place des Victoires - Hôtel des Saints Pères

This famous square, listed as an Historic Monument, is today the home of private mansions and top fashion stores, and has been a part of history since the 17th century. At its centre is the famous statue of King Louis XIV by Bosio.

The history of Place des Victoires

The square originated from the wish on the part of Maréchal de La Feuillade, a courtier of the Sun King, to create the first public square in honour of the monarch. He commissioned a statue from the sculptor Martin Desjardins, showing Louis XIV, standing, in celebration of the victory at Nijmegen in 1678, and presented it to the king. At the same time, the project to build a royal square was undertaken by the architect of the Chateau de Versailles Jules Hardouin Mansart, who, among other works, designed the dome of the Invalides and Place Vendôme. This was the first circular square in Paris.

The square can be seen as the exemplary model for urban planning in which a statue of a king is the focal point. It is one of the capital's five royal squares, along with Place des Vosges, Place Dauphine, Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde. Mansions belonging to the patron Crozat, the banker Samuel Bernard and the Marquis de Marigny all stood here. The square and its private mansions are listed as Historic Monuments. Situated close by the Hôtel Mansart, it is today a focal point for prestigious fashion boutiques.

The statue of the Sun King

The original statue of the king, crowned with a laurel wreath symbolising victory, was surrounded by four sculptures representing slaves in chains. These were removed in 1790 and can now be seen in the Cour Puget in the Louvre. During the French Revolution, the royal statue was destroyed and replaced by a wooden pyramid to commemorate the inhabitants who had fought for liberty. In 1822, Louis XVIII commissioned François-Joseph Bosio to make a new sculpture of the Sun King on horseback, in the style of a Roman emperor. The sculptor took the inspiration for his work from the famous bronze equestrian statue made by the French artist Falconet in Saint Petersburg, showing the tsar Peter the Great.

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