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A stake stuck in the eye? King Henri II's dreadful death throes in the Tournelles

The Tournelles tournament | Wellcome Images / CC-BY
Street District Accident Gabriel de Montgomery Henri II of France Catherine de Medici Place des Vosges

In 1388, Pierre d'Orgemont, chancellor of France, raised a big and beautiful house to the north of the current square, with a garden: the hôtel des Tournelles.

Here, king of France Henri II died during a tournament, after days of slow and painful death.

His widow, Catherine of Medici, didn't want to live here, in this damned place!

King Charles IX allowed her to destroy the house: instead of it, a horse market took place.

When king Henri IV arrived in Paris, he decided to rebuild everything.

Old texts said: Si tost qu'il fut maistre de Paris, on ne vit que maçons en besogne, which means "As soon as he was Paris' master, we only saw masons at work"! He relaid out the square.

But Henri was undecided! In 1604, he finally put up a silk factory, surrounded by a public square and houses for the workers. The factory was demolished in 1607 and the current square was laid out.

It was inaugurated between April 5th and 7th 1612, during the wedding of king Louis XIII and Ann of Austria.

The square was popular in the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, then Parisians abandoned it.

During the Revolution, the square became place de l’Indivisibilité and on September 23th 1800, it was called place des Vosges... owing to a French departement, the Vosges, which was the first departement which paid their taxes!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!