My favorite square in Paris is without a doubt the Place Vendome. I even have a painting of it in my bedroom by Moura Chabor!
The storied square is actually 26 separate buildings with a unified front designed by Mansart. Based on the success of the earlier Place des Vosges in the Marais (a similar concept of different buildings looking as one), it was fully complete by 1720.
The Hotel Ritz, which occupies # 15 ( and possibly 17? ), is currently under renovation and is covered by the scaffolding seen above. This also includes a full restoration of the column in the center of the square originally erected by Napoleon in 1810.
To the right of the scaffolding you can see what the original mansion fronts look like.
This corner of the square is still open so you can see the original intent.
Above each archway is a different face -this guy looks a bit constipated! Notice the lovely ironwork on the guard between houses.
But what lies behind these grand facades? Hotels and businesses of course but at one time they were all private homes. Go through the vaulted archways and you still find very residential scaled facades.
This little courtyard above would make the perfect Paris pied a terre!
This very grand staircase leads one up into the buildings from the porte cochere.
All of this 'stone' is actually plaster scored and painted to resemble the stone the facades are built of. This is outdoor space but at the same time protected so it wears well.
And a very blurry picture looking into one of these historic building's stair - whats not to like?!