The Most Beautiful City Squares across France

Place Stanilas
Place Stanilas | © Henrion Alain / Flickr

It’s safe to say that France has its fair share of stunning squares in different pockets of the country. Here are Culture Trip’s favourite ones, from the dramatic north to the sun-drenched south.

Place Stanislas, Nancy

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Place Stanislas in the north-eastern city of Nancy. Surrounding the square is the city’s Hôtel de Ville, Opera House and Museum of Fine Arts. These grand buildings are examples of Classical French architecture and all add to the impressive backdrop. The statue in the centre of the Place Stanislas represents The Duke of Lorraine (Stanislas Leszczynski).

Place Stanislas

Place des Vosges, Paris

Located in the Marais district, Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. It is a true square measuring 140 metres by 140 metres, and almost from the point it was created, it has been a fashionable place to live in and be a part of.

Place des Vosges

Place d’Albertas, Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence’s Place d’Albertas is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Provence. The Albertas Family – originating from Alba in Italy – were one of the city’s most influential families and they commissioned the building of the four mansions you see today back in 1745. They wanted the design to resemble the royal squares that were built at the same time in Paris.

Fontaine d’Albertas

Grand Place, Arras

Arras’ city square is bordered by over 150 buildings in the Flemish Baroque style in classical French architecture. Throughout its history it has been a meeting point for travel and trade and each Christmastide, it is here where you’ll find the Christmas market and festivities.

Place des Héros

Place du Capitole, Toulouse

The Place du Capitole is an impressive square in the heart of Toulouse. The warmth of the colour of the facades always give this square a radiant quality, especially when looking onto the City Hall. In 1995, the square was redesigned for pedestrians and so it is a fairly calm space, given its size.

Place du Capitole

Place Vendôme, Paris

There are many gorgeous squares in Paris, but the Place Vendôme is particularly striking due to the Vendôme Column. Among many other individuals in history, Coco Chanel called Place Vendôme home, and so if you are visiting Paris, simply wander through this incredible square, edged with hotels, and take in the sheer size and beauty that represents France’s capital.

Place Vendôme

Place Kléber, Strasbourg

Place Kleber is Strasbourg‘s largest square. Sit on one of the benches at the square’s edge to take in all the different buildings and facades. Whereas other squares can be beautiful symmetrically, Place Kleber has colour and mismatched buildings that catch the eye. Like many cities and towns in the East of France, Christmas shows off the city to its best with the festivities and markets.

Place Kleber

Place de la Libération, Dijon

Place de la Libération is at the heart of Dijon’s historic center, created in 1689.

It is made from Comblanchien limestone and the pedestrian revamp with added fountains gives the square a serene feel amongst the hustle and bustle.

Place de la Libération

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier

Place de la Comédie is a gorgeous square in the south of France. At its centre is a fountain called the Three Graces, which was built by sculptor Étienne d’Antoine in 1790. It is known locally as l’Oeuf (the Egg) because of its original oval shape.

Place de la Comédie

Place Masséna, Nice

This is Nice’s main city square and, since the tramway was re-built, pedestrians can rule the square roost. There are palm trees at the borders and the facades have that delicious Mediterranean glow.

Place Masséna

Place Bellecour, Lyon

The Place Bellecour is one of the largest open squares in Europe and is part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In winter time the city installs an ice rink in the square and throughout the year various events take place in this incredible space. The main shopping streets and avenues start here, making it a good navigational start to discovering Lyon for yourself.

Place Bellecour

Place Royale, Nantes

Despite its name, Place Royale has never housed a royal statue. In 1865 the grand fountain was installed and this beautiful square is very much part of the heart and soul of the city.

Place Royale

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

Place de la Bourse is a stunning square in Bordeaux. It was originally built as a royal square and its buildings and facades are a perfect example of Bordeaux architecture at the end of the 18th century. Make sure to visit this square at dusk or later; the buildings illuminated in all their glory are quite the sight. The Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror) was added in 2006 and is the world’s largest reflecting pool.

Place de la Bourse

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