Top Ten Plazas in Paris
Almost all walking tours of Paris are bound to start, end or pass through a plaza at some point In the day .
Public squares in Paris form the center points of most of the major districts. In theory, all roads lead to a plaza of some sort eventually. A point in the neighborhood where you can kick back with the rest of the town’s visitors and enjoy a glass of wine or midday snack.
Being the majestic land that it is, of course the plazas around Paris are naturally a sight for sore eyes. Many of the public squares contain very aesthetically pleasing landmarks or monuments for patrons to enjoy as they waste a few hours in the space.
Some of the Parisian plazas are more exciting than others; boasting a better variety of entertainment or shopping opportunity. Others are more simple and may only provide bench space or grass patches from which the square can be enjoyed.
Regardless, it’s always nice to aimlessly wander the streets of Paris knowing that a new plaza is bound to pop up at any minute. Many on this list were found be me in this exact manner — a very pleasant surprise to an already enjoyable stroll.
Here are the top ten plazas in Paris and where to find them.
1. Place des Vosges in Paris
The Le Marais district itself is naturally a visual wonder, so it makes sense that the neighborhood’s plaza be equally as lovely.
The Place des Vosges is often referred to as one of the most beautiful public squares in all of Europe. It can be found right where the 3rd and 4th arrondissements come together in Le Marais.
The Place des Vosges used to be known as the Royal Square of Le Marais. Unlike other plazas around Paris, this one actually is shaped like a physical square made mostly from grass. The space is bordered by the old buildings of the district including the Victor Hugo Museum.
Because of the squares vast grass land, a typical day in the Place des Vosges involves hoards of people who have taken a break from their exploring of Le Marais to lay on the grass or enjoy a takeaway baguette amongst friends.
The square is bordered with tress so there is some shaded area available for the warmer months.
2. Place Vendôme in Paris
If there is one place you want to be during golden hour in Paris, its the Place Vendôme.
This is my personal favorite plaza in the city. It is located just above the Tuileries Gardens in the 1st arrondissement.
In the centre stands the column for Napoleon. The rest of the square is bordered by beautiful neoclassical French architecture. In the afternoons, just before the sun goes down, the plaza is electric with light and soft hues that bounce between the adjacent walls.
Its a great place for a photo op, or just to bask in the beauty of the space for a few moments. The square is paved and not made of grass so it is more of a “walk through” kind of plaza rather than a laze around one.
An interesting fact is that this plaza was originally built by King Louis XIV who wanted the afore mentioned Place des Vosges to lose its title as the most beautiful public square in Europe.
3. Place Dauphine in Paris
Also in the 1st arrondissement, on the west end of Île de la Cité, is the Place Dauphine. It was built way back in 1607 in a public square project initiated by Henry IV.
It’s not entirely accurate to call this particular plaza a square, as it is actually triangular shaped. The space doesn’t boast any grass but it lined with many chestnut trees and benches that offer a welcome break from sightseeing around the 1st.
The plaza is also lined with cafes and galleries that overlook the central triangle. If the Place des Vosges and Place Vendôme are the most beautiful, then Place Dauphine is the most romantic.
After a busy day of exploring museums like the Louvre in the 1st, Place Dauphine is the spot to stop by for a glass of wine and snack. If you’re on a free guided walking tour, request that the guide bring you through this plaza at some point.
4. Place de la Concorde in Paris
Place de la Concorde is the largest known square in Paris and holds an important spot in French history.
During the Revolution, this square was used to publicly behead over 1000 people by guillotine. During this time it was known as the Place de la Révolution, it was only renamed Place de la Concorde later in 1830.
If you can, visit the Place de la Concorde by night. Because the plaza is so closely attached to the grounds of the Arc de Triomphe it can get chaotic with tourists during the peak of the day.
The space is exquisite by night. The Luxor Obelisk that stands in the middle of the square is 3500 years old and officially the oldest standing monument in all of Paris. You’ll want to get close to admire the intricate engravings and workmanship that went into the bronze structure.
The Tuileries Gardens are nearby to the Place de la Concorde (walking distance) and are another unmissable sight if you are in the area!
5. Place Émile Goudeau in Paris
Emile Goudeau was a 19th century writer and poet who was native to France. This plaza was given this name because years ago, in the same area, the literary club that Goudeau founded burnt to the ground in a tragic event.
Like most locations in Montmartre, the plaza is whimsical and artistic. The space is covered by tree life and within close proximity to surrounding cafes, bookshops and independent galleries.
This plaza has a more private feel to it, and is almost hidden in a wedge between the adjacent buildings on Rue Ravignan. This keeps the space somewhat free of the more predictable tourist activities and the square is frequented by Montmartre locals as much as it is visitors.
The plaza is also home to the entrance to the well known rooftop restaurant called Le Relais de la Butte. Here you’ll dine with an incredible view of the Parisian rooftops feeling like you’ve been transported back to the early 1900s.
If you can, make a reservation for dinner around sunset time! Beautiful!
6. Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris
As if we needed another reason to pay visit to the Latin Quarter in Paris. Place Saint-Sulpice is the main square in the 6th arrondissement and is also the grounds for the church of Saint-Sulpice as well as the town hall of the Latin Quarter.
This plaza is best visited in the spring, if possible. At this time the chestnut tress blossom wild pink flowers around the space. Next to the classic architecture of the church and monumental Fontaine Saint-Sulpice, it’s absolutely magic.
If nature is the call of the day then you might want to walk over to the Luxembourg Gardens after visiting this plaza — another not to be missed outdoor wonder of Paris.
There are a few cafes surrounding the Place Saint-Sulpice that are a good stopping point for a coffee or cocktail depending on the mood. Flip a coin into the fountain for good luck!
7. Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in Paris
The Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is the public square that is just outside the city hall of Paris in the 4th arrondissement.
While there is not much to do in the square itself, or anywhere to sit for that matter, a walk through the space is still very worthwhile. Paris City Hall itself is an astounding building to behold. It is a typical Renaissance style building that was rebuilt in 1873.
Back in the day the plaza was one of the main sights for public executions. These days you’ll experience quite the opposite, as the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville makes use of the square for public events and entertainment as often as possible.
The square is best known for its festivities around Christmas time. Hoards of Christmas tress are set up in the space in conjunction with elaborate lighting. The ambiance of the plaza becomes simply magical to say the least.
There is also a giant ice skating rink during the winter months for the public to enjoy.
8. Place de Furstenberg in Paris
In solid competition for the most romantic plaza in Paris is the Place de Furstenberg located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter. The square was named after the original Prince of Furstenberg.
The plaza is well known as being where famous artist Eugène Delacroix lived in his apartment for most of his life. A museum in his name is now found on site in the square.
I’ll admit, I struggle to classify this particular square as a plaza at all. It’s absolutely tiny. It is technically just a roundabout that was built into the narrow street of Rue de Furstemberg to create some extra space.
The “square” draws much of its romance from the four trees and typical Parisian lampposts that inhabit the space. Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area for a romantic dinner then this is the stroll to succeed it.
Pickup some ice cream from Grom Gelato along the way! A delicious addition to your romantic night walk.
9. Place de l’Étoile in Paris
The Place de l’Étoile is the plaza upon which the Arc de Triomphe sits. It is famously known as being one of the most difficult roundabout for motorists to navigate on the bustling streets of Paris.
The plaza itself is a circular structure from which twelve avenues jut out into the surrounding Paris neighborhoods. The space is 120m in diameter — not the kind of plaza you head to for a light stroll under the tress.
It is thought that one can access any part of Paris but simply picking the right avenue from which to venture out of the plaza. From Place de l’Étoile Paris is your oyster!
Feel like exploring a museum in the 1st? How about catching some theatre over in the 10th? Place de l’Étoile can get you there one way or another.
Historically this plaza is also known as Place Charles de Gaulle, and is still often referred to by this name today. Don’t get confused if both happen to come up in conversation.
10. Place André-Malraux in Paris
We end off with one of the busiest plazas in all of Paris, Place André-Malraux. Its very central location near the Paris Opera and the Louvre museum make it the perfect point of gathering for the neighborhood’s visitors.
From the central fountain you’ll be able to see the Comédie-Française. This is the oldest active theatre on the planet and a true privilege to be in the presence of. If you have the opportunity to catch a show here I hightail recommend you do so.
Just next door to the Place André-Malraux are the Palais-Royal gardens. Here you’ll find a variety of restaurants and cafes for lunch or dinner near the square.
Place André-Malraux is most beautiful in the spring and summer seasons, when the tress of the square are in full bloom. However I will say that I once passed through here accidentally during a rare occasion of light snowfall in the district — the sight of the white dust on the baron treetops was breathtaking.
While this list of top ten plazas in Paris includes but a handful of the total amount of plazas in existence in Paris, you can rest assured that these are undoubtably some of the most beautiful.
As you roam the city, more of these beautiful squares will make themselves known to you. Try keeping track of how many you encounter during your time in Paris.