Discover the History of Place Vendôme in Paris – by Laura Beaney (Tatler Asia – October 31, 2019)

Few destinations stir up a sense of unparalleled luxury and cinematic history like Place Vendôme. From its seminal maisons to its storied clients and the magnificent jewels they covet, we pinpoint the exceptional moments that left a lasting imprint on the legacy of high jewellery

At the epicentre of exceptional jewellery lies one Parisian address: Place Vendôme. Its history, punctuated by war, revolt and the rise and fall of dynasties is almost as dazzling as the pieces its workshops produce. Completed in 1699 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, whose design stamp can be traced across France’s architectural high points, from the Palace of Versailles to Notre-Dame, the ambitious feat of urban design was initiated to frame the statue of then ruler Louis XIV.

Breaking away from the typical square format, Hardouin-Mansart traced out a perfect octagon, with the clean lines of the sandstone-clad, neoclassical townhouses forming its perimeter. More than a symbol of monarchy, Place Vendôme was a rare open space, where people could breathe freely beyond the maze of winding Parisian streets.

A Part of Parisian History

It could have faded into history, but the square kept pace with the City of Light. Napoleon Bonaparte took high jewellery as his own symbol of political power. His wife, Empress Joséphine, became the original muse for Chaumet, popularising tiaras among the ladies of her court. Enlisting Marie-Étienne Nitot, Chaumet’s founder, as their official jeweller, the rulers created a thirst within the elite for flamboyant diamond-studded pieces, which led to a wave of workshops springing up across Paris throughout the 19th century.

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