Place du Furstemberg is probably the smallest square in Paris. So small, in fact, that you will not find it on maps. You will find instead the Rue de Furstemberg, a small street in the middle of which stands this little square! A flower shop and Delacroix museum are about all you can find! But it is so cute, secluded, with a big tree and a few lamposts, and decorated with paintings by a few artists.
The current location of Place de Furstemberg is the site of the original Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey, constructed by Childebert I in the sixth century. The abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés has a complicated history. After it was built, the Abbey retained ownership of the majority of what is now the Saint Germain neighborhood until the very late 17th century.
Although the monastic settlement covered the entire region, its buildings were constantly falling to ruin and being rebuilt. Most of the monastery buildings were destroyed following the Revolution when the Abbey was converted into a munitions depot.
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Confused between Place de Furstemberg and Rue de Furstemberg?
This plaza is one of the most stunning in Paris, yet nobody seems to agree on what to call it. Place de Furstenberg, to which there are innumerable online references, does not exist, contrary to popular belief. Trees stand in the middle of a tiny roundabout on a peaceful Parisian street at the center of this rather famous square. Paris recognizes the name as Rue de Furstemberg.
Its name came from German cardinal Guillaume-Egon de Fürstenberg in 1697. The English-speaking world adopted the German spelling (Furstenberg), while the French adopted a variant version (Furstenburg). This has led to some uncertainty regarding the correct spelling of the name (Furstemberg). No formal plaza is on this street; instead, it is a rue. But call it what you want, it is still the same small pretty place that is peaceful and romantic!
Where is Place de Furstemberg located?
You can find Place de Furstenberg in the posh 6th arrondissement. You will see it between the streets that lead to Boulevard Saint-Germain and the left bank of the Seine. The “place” is a road “Rue de Furstenberg.” The arrangement of the buildings around the island in the middle gives the impression of a square. You will notice the Haussmannian style of architecture here and on the neighboring streets. This style characterizes Paris, adding to the romantic and indisputably French ambiance.
At the Saint-Germain-des-Pres station, the Metro line 4 and the RATP bus lines (BUS) 39, 86, and 95 serve the area.
What makes Place de Furstemberg important?
History of the square
Around 1699, the street was built on the grounds of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey. Furstemberg wanted a separate way to get to the abbey palace from the abbey, so he opened the street (he also had the nearby rue Cardinale opened). It was significant that this plaza served as a foreground to the entry of the Abbatial Palace, which Cardinal Charles I de Bourbon built in 1586. It was expanded and remodeled thanks to the efforts of Cardinal Guillaume-Egon de Furstenberg, hence its name. It was called “rue de la Paroisse” during the French Revolution.
In honor of the battle of Wertingen, which took place on October 8, 1805, where the French defeated a large group of Austrians, the street was named “rue de Wertingen” in 1806. It went back to its old name in 1815.
In 1691, construction began on an addition that would eventually become the living quarters for the house’s staff and the stables where guests could keep their horses and carriages. Very different from the modern, high-end, and highly sought-after flats that now call those same structures home. The reconstructed Abbatial Palace may be seen on Rue de l’Abbaye, which runs perpendicular to Rue de Furstenberg.
See Related: Fun & Interesting Facts About Paris
Place de Furstenberg: beauty in simplicity
Whether in bloom or not, the four Paulownia trees that surround the center gothic light post in the square’s circular island serve as inspiration for numerous painters. and with good reason. The evening has an especially lovely effect on the simple design. This may explain why it has remained a favorite pit stop for couples taking romantic strolls in the region. Or, by all means, group strolls with companions or solo excursions. Both the square and the streets immediately surrounding it are among the best in the city for aimless strolling.
The little, protected streets are filled with unique art galleries, custom shoe shops, boutiques, and high-end furniture stores, making for great window shopping and people-watching. A wonderful glimpse into the city’s luxurious, creative quarter. You may join “the big silent crowds watching the street life,” as described by Emile Zola, by sitting on the patio of a nearby café and people-watching the impeccably dressed Parisians going about their day.
The Eugene Delacroix Museum
This region has traditionally been a hub for academics and artists. The apartment that Eugène Delacroix lived in at No. 1 Place de Furstenberg from December 28, 1857, until his death on August 13, 1863, is widely recognized as one of the most significant in the history of the neighborhood.
His new home was supposedly closer to the Eglise Saint-Sulpice, where he had been commissioned to do some decorative work. The art museum, Musée National Eugène Delacroix, which takes the place of the artist’s residence, pays tribute to him and his enduring legacy. In this regard, it is unparalleled, as there aren’t many other venues where you may view works of art in their original settings.
Exploring Delacroix’s actual apartment, studio, and meticulously cared-for garden adds a special dimension to the visit. The artist’s furnishings and antiques help you feel like you’re a part of the creative process.
Place de Furstenberg is, without a doubt, the best place to get a feel for the elegant, sophisticated Paris that is talked about and portrayed all over the world in literature and art.
Historic buildings in Rue de Furstemberg
Rue de Furstemberg is more than just a small and pretty square. The buildings surrounding it have their little histories, too! Unlike other places in Paris, the history in these buildings are more personal, adding to the romantic vibe of the place.
For example, the buildings at Nos. 6–8 has a new brick and stone façade that was made in the 1990s. This was done to help the buildings fit in better with the site. There have been studios for several artists.
No. 2 is the home of Russian-American composer Alexandre Tcherepnine (1899–1977), who is remembered by a plaque. This is also where Étienne Charavay opened his bookstore.
No. 3 ter is the home of Jean Francois Asseline (1767-1832). He was the deputy head of the Ministry of War’s office during the First Empire and the Restoration. Since the Revolution, he wrote speeches for the ministries. He lived there with his second wife, Anne Nicole Suseron, who was born in 1785, and their son, Adolphe Asseline, who was born in 1806 and was secretary to the duke Ferdinand-Philippe d’Orléans (1810-1842) and the duchess of Orléans, Hélène de Mecklembourg-Schwerin (1814-1858).
No. 4 was a studio where Balthus worked from 1933 to 1936. He was a modern Polish-French artist. He is known for his sexually charged pictures of adolescent girls and the refined, psychedelic visual quality of his pictures.
No. 6 was where the painter Eugène Delacroix’s studio is from 1857 until he died in 1863. Delacroix moved there so he could be closer to the church of Saint-Sulpice, where he was in charge of decorating one of the chapels. From 1879 to 1890, Diogène Maillart worked in his studio. Frédéric Bazille and Claude Monet shared a studio on one floor up until January 1866. He left behind a painting of the studio called Atelier de la rue Furstenberg. There was talk of tearing it down to build a garage, but Paul Signac, a fan of Delacroix, fought to keep the studio standing. The Eugène-Delacroix National Museum is now in the building.
The Ateliers d’art sacré were set up in No. 8 by George Desvallières and Maurice Denis between the two world wars. They were left behind so that the Société de Saint-Jean could be built.
In 1832 and 1833, the painter Augustine Cochet de Saint-Omer lived and worked at number 8 bis. And in 1831, Antoine Étex lived at No. 8 Ter. In 1835, Kellner had a shop where he made watches. From 1914 on, the writer Jean Anouilh lived there.
Visit Place de Furstemberg!
Place de Furstemberg is a fantastic place to stop off in between the well-known tourist attractions of Paris. Whether you want a break from sightseeing, or perhaps an alternative view of some famous landmarks, Place de Furstemberg is the right place to spend your time. It will have you coming back for more in no time at all.