Vendome Column (La colonne Vendôme) rises in the center of the square, which is called the Parisian symbol of haute couture, style and chic. It is here that the most expensive shops of French fashion houses, famous jewelry stores and prestigious boutiques are located. In the center of this luxurious ball of style and beauty rises a 44-meter column, crowned at the end with a statue of Napoleon I. Both the column itself and its crowned owner have experienced many tragic events.
The square is more beautiful and thousands of ladies-lapdogs.
This square would justify every city.
If I were the Vendome column,
I'd marry Place de la Concorde.
Vladimir Mayakovsky, City, 1925
When the column was erected on the square in August 1810, it was called Austerlitz. Emperor Napoleon really wanted to perpetuate the victory of his army over the enemies. From 1807 he planned the implementation of this project. Initially, he even wanted to transport Trajan's column from Italy, but, apparently, this was quite burdensome for the wallet of the French empire. Thus, it was decided to erect the monument on the spot using our own efforts in the image and likeness of the Italian one.
The base of the column is just over 3,5 meters. It itself is symbolically cast from 120 cannons of the defeated Russian and Austrian armies and is decorated with 76 bas-reliefs depicting the Battle of Austerlitz. Inside the column there is an iron staircase, overcoming 176 degrees of which you can go to the observation deck directly to the statue of Napoleon.
The first statue of an emperor, wearing a Roman toga, was removed by angry Parisians in 1914. In its place, a white Bourbon flag with lilies was installed. The French turned out to be very practical and melted the disgraced emperor into a statue of Henry IV, which can now be admired on the New Bridge. By 1833, the passions had subsided, and Napoleon, already in a French uniform, was returned to his original place by order of Louis Philippe I. In the 1850s, the statue was dismantled due to fears of Napoleon III for her fate and transferred to the Invalides, where she "lives" under the name of Little Corporal.
The fears were far from unfounded, the hard times of the Paris Commune played a dramatic role in the life of the monument. The column, as a symbol of the Bonapartists and the glorification of militarism, was destroyed on May 18, 1871, to the enthusiastic shouts of hundreds of Parisians. As you know, the Paris Commune ended in disastrous defeat, and the new government decided to return the column along with the statue of Napoleon (the third in a row, this time in the original Roman toga) to its original place, forcing the main "instigator" to pay full cost for its restoration.
Since 1873, the Vendome Column has not moved anywhere and to this day continues to be one of the key points of tourist routes in Paris.
Address: Place Vendome, Paris 75001