This prestigious square in Paris' 1st arrondissement is located not far from such famous sites as the Opéra Garnier, the Madeleine Church and the Tuileries Garden. Place Vendôme was designed in the 17th century by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, at the request of Louis XIV, who wanted to create a splendid place to embody his absolute power at the heart of Paris. The impressive bronze column standing in the middle of the square was erected in 1810 by Napoleon to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz.
A gem of classic urbanism, Place Vendôme is nowadays a major centre for the luxury goods and jewellery businesses. Leading into the famous Rue de la Paix (the most expensive square on the French Monopoly board), it is home to the greatest jewellery houses. Many diamonds, rubies and other precious stones change hands there. Haute couture is also represented by such big names as Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and some very elegant private mansions can be admired all around the square.
Place Vendôme is also home to one of the French Republic's most important ministries, the Ministry of Justice, based in the Bourvallais Mansion.