Monday, October 18, 2010

Place Vendome

The 44 metre Column - made mainly of stone, covered in the bronze of 1250 cannons taken at the Battle of Austerliz , was designed in 1805 by Denon, Gondouin, and Lepère and designed in the style of Trajan's Column in Rome. Constructioned between 1806 - 1810, the spiral bronze bas-relief was created by Bergeret.

Atop this statue was Napoléon, but a statue of Caesar replaced him. Like playing King of the castle Henri IV had been the earlier figurehead topping the column, but the 100 Day (1815) put pay to that when Napoléon returned from Elba and attempted to regain power, which is when his likeness was unveiled.

The column was torn down during the Commune in 1871, by the Communards, in more recent times a pop group, lead by Gustave Courbet the artist. Courbet was ordered to resurrect the column as ordered, though he died in exile in Switzerland. During 1873 - 1874, the column was reestablished at the center of Place Vendôme with a copy of the original statue on top.

Surrounded by exclusive shops like Chanel, Cartier and Piaget, not to mention the Ritz hotel, Place Vendome is an institution in history. Ernest Hemingway used to frequent the bar at the Ritz Hotel and it is now named in his honour, left exactly how it was with wood paneling, have a drink here and remind yourself this is one of the last locations Princess Diana spent time at before that fateful night.

Place Vendome has been the site for many a designer to set their ateliers in, even composer Chopin once lived here.

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