Upon entering the Place des Vosges I am reminded that cities are primarily built to a home for people, a purpose that sometimes seems lost in our modern versions.
If you haven't been there let me describe the Place des Vosges to you as simply the most urbane and intimate public square in the world. While many public places seemed to be scaled more to allow a Boeing 747 room to maneuver, the Place des Voges seems like it was designed on a human scale.
It is surrounded by 17th Century townhouses that once were home to French nobility and aristocracy and it was once known as the Place Royale. None of the townhouses reach more than a few stories and no office towers or major hotels loom over you. No major thoroughfare cuts through the Place so it is most saved from street traffic and thus is perfect for pedestrians. Several of the streets enter the Place through small arched passageways that make up a townhouse's first floor.
It's not just a residential area, a large number of businesses line the square. As a visitor you can enjoy siting in the park, viewing the former home of Victor Hugo, strolling under the arcades gazing into art shops or you can be partaking of the specialities of the Burgundian region at Ma Bourgogne (19 Place des Vosges), a cafe said to have been frequented by inspector Maigret. Just guess where I'll be.