From the southwest corner of Place des Vosges, at house number 5, there is a small passageway leading to the back garden of the Hôtel de Sully.
This is a Hôtel in the old sense of the word, mean a stately and elaborate private residence. It is named after its most famous owner, Maximilien de Béthune, the first Duke of Sully (1560–1641), who bought it in 1634 and fixed it up as one of his retirement residences — his city pad, so to speak. (His other residence was the château of Sully-sur-Loire, which is where he was buried.)
The Duke of Sully was the Superintendent of Finances during the reign of King Henri IV, and as such was the most powerful government minister during the first decade of the seventeenth century.
The Hôtel de Sully is now the head office of the Center of National Monuments, and also houses an exhibition hall and a bookshop, specializing in books about French historic sites and listed buildings. Except for the bookshop, and sometimes the exhibition hall, the building is not normally open to the public.
This courtyard is the first one you come to if you enter from the street side, namely from Rue Saint-Antoine. From here you can walk through the passageway and come out at the back garden, and from there to Place des Vosges.
These are the buildings on the south side of Place des Vosges. The large building in the center is the Pavillion du Roi (Pavilion of the king), with a gateway leading to the rue de Birague. This is where I came across two sopranos singing opera arias in 2006. Off to the left, not quite in the photo, is the apartment where the author Victor Hugo used to live, and off to the right at the next corner is the passageway leading to the back garden of the Hôtel de Sully.
The front entrance to the Hôtel de Sully is at 62, Rue Saint-Antoine. This is the main east-west street (now with a separated two-way bicycle lane) that runs east from Place de la Bastille but peters out after reaching the Saint-Paul Métro station. (The bicycle lane continues on Rue de Rivoli.)
Location and aerial view of Place des Vosges on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2006 and 2007. I revised the text in 2020.
See more posts on the Marais district of Paris.