NileGuide Expert Says:
Here you’ll find some of the most sumptuous window-shopping in Paris
Place Vendôme, Paris, France
NileGuide Expert tip:
Look for Charvet, the world's first shirt shop, established here in 1838
Ringed today by the glittering windows of high-end jewellery and watch boutiques, the Place Vendôme was first laid out in the reign of Louis XIV by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart as an octagon rather than a square. It has long been the focus of political action. The mounted statue of Louis XIV that was first placed in its centre fell victim to revolutionaries. In 1810, the Colonne de la Grande Armée was erected in its place. Ordered by Napoleon to commemorate the French victory at the battle of Austerlitz, the column was made of melted-down cannons captured from the Austrians and the Russians and decorated with reliefs by many of France's most celebrated sculptors. The 42-metre high column was variously topped over the years, with different statues and emblems, according to political mood. The whole column was toppled in 1871 under the Paris Commune, but was soon restored.