This Paris Life

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Living Like Royalty on the Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges in Paris 4th arrondissement is the oldest square in the city and considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The first Royal Square of it’s kind, it is surrounded by distinctive red brick and yellow limestone facades with steep slate roofs and dormer windows surround the gated square, all constructed on an arched stone gallery. The buildings and the Place Royale were built as the residence for King Henri IV and his wife Catherine de Medicis in 1612 on the site of the Hotel des Tournelles, a favourite spot for duels at the time. In 1799 Napoleon renamed it the Place des Vosges, in gratitude to the Vosges department of France, the first to pay taxes under his regime. 


Today, the Place des Vosges is the jewel in the center of the chic and trendy Marais district of Paris. On the square  itself is the gracious Michelin 3-star restaurant L’Ambroisie, the Victor Hugo Museum and the Paris headquarters of fashion designer Issey Miyake. Wander into the gated park where you can picnic near the fountains, stroll under the Linden trees, or watch children playing in the sandboxes. The surrounding buildings are sumptuous private apartments, with a number of famous residents over the years. Cardinal Richelieu, Prime Minister of France in 1624, lived at number 21; Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables living at number 6. 


So is the setting for a charming and modern 80 m2, two-bedroom apartment perched high atop the historic royal compound. This fully renovated two-story apartment on the top floors offers lovely views over a quiet and private courtyard garden to one side, and a gorgeous private mansion on the other.


Paris will always be an inspiration for me, a place I will always come back to.”


— Oliver Howard


Native Australian Oliver Howard has owned the pied-a-terre for almost 10 years. A London-based corporate lawyer, he spends weekends as often as he can. Convenient Eurostar trains bring him to Paris for dinner on Friday night and back to the office by 9am on Monday.  But he doesn’t get there as often as he’d like, and reluctantly decided to sell, giving us the chance to glimpse behind the ancient façade, and own a property at one of the most sought after addresses in Paris.


Step inside the the arcade on Place des Vosges through a beautiful stone arch and ancient wooden door. The impeccably maintained building has a modern elevator that takes you to the 5th floor (6th floor American), where you’ll enter a fully remodeled, lightfilled apartment. The welcoming and comfortable decor feel like home from the moment you walk in the door.


The long lounge sofa in red and purple tones extends the length of the living room wall.  Old mirrors and an eclectic collection of antique pharmacy bottles, scooped up from the stands at Paris’ renowned Clignancourt flea market, bring a touch of the old to this haven of modern and new.

Howard looked long for the perfect pied-a-terre in Paris, and was thrilled to land his Place des Vosges pad. The apartment was badly in need of freshening when Howard first saw it. Living in Copenhagen at the time, he traveled to Paris to oversee extensive renovation, replacing carpets with hardwood floors, repainting the interior and overhauling the kitchen and bathrooms.


The open-plan kitchen has been remodeled with the highest attention to detail and offers every appliance to cook a gourmet meal, from convection oven to large refrigerator/freezer. The white marble countertop and touch of lime green inside the open storage shelves add a touch of modern and fresh. Next to the kitchen is a powder room / half bath with toilet and sink.



One of Howard’s favorite touches is the custom designed bathtub, especially fitted for the space and a great place for lounging and taking in the rooftop views through the window.

The bath is on the upper floor of the apartment.  Two light, airy bedrooms with generous storage and a separate WC (toilet and sink) complete the upstairs.


Howard loves to entertain at the apartment, hosting dinners for local friends and welcoming weekend visitors from out of town. With the bustle and buzz of the city right outside the door, stepping through the centuries-old portal into the quiet, calm oasis of the huge interior courtyard brings the history and serenity of the place to life.


The Place des Vosges is like Howard’s own private garden: he will take his coffee and newspaper there in the morning, or host an apero there before a dinner party. Howard favors the summer’s live music on the square, or the quiet of winter with the Place covered in snow.



“Owning a place in Paris has allowed me to discover the city through its details, by getting to know one neighborhood, my neighborhood, more intimately than I would have ever imagined. My days here are always a mix of the old and the new: shopping at my favourite markets , Marché des Enfants Rouges and the one on Boulevard Richard Lenoir then discovering a new antique shop or artisan bakery on the walk home.” says Howard. It’s that mix of old and new that keep Paris alive, and that Howard wanted to capture in the style of his Paris home. “Paris will always be an inspiration for me, a place I will always come back to.” 

— Oliver Howard



17 Place des Vosges is offered at 1,279,000 €

2-bed, 1-bath, plus 2 powder rooms

Floor surface of 82,40 m² (893ft²) (61 m² loi carrez)

5th floor (elevator)

Parking available for 85,000€


Contact Paris Property Group to learn more about buying or selling property in Paris.

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