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Gracing the town newly created by the King, the elegant Place Dauphine was the first octagonal square in France (1671). With its carefully contrived and majestic view of the church of Notre-Dame, it shows the importance given to town planning in the 17th century.
The square was later renamed after Lazare Hoche, a general in the Republican Armies, who was born in Versailles in 1768 and whose heart is kept in the church of Notre-Dame. Notice in the courtyard of No. 10 a fine copy of “La Frileuse” by J. A. Houdon (1741-1828), the talented Versailles sculptor.
It was here that the municipal guillotine was set up on its periodic visits to Versailles during the Revolution. However, there were only seven recorded capital executions at this site.
- The Necklace Affair - At No. 6 Place de Hoche there once stood an inn called “La Belle Image”. It was there, on 1 February 1785, that the Countess de La Motte arranged a meeting with Cardinal Rohan to get the famous “Queen’s Necklace” from him. Though the scam came to light shortly afterwards, it did much to harm the reputation of Marie-Antoinette, who had never even contemplated acquiring this incomparable piece of jewellery.
- The Pavillon des Fontainiers - In this building located at 11, Carnot street, very close to the Place Hoche, and which dates from 1683, a concealed reservoir once received spring water from the surrounding area and redistributed it to fountains in the neighbourhood. Its architecture is an example of the style that Louis XIV sought to impose on the town’s builders. In fact, the King insisted on the use of brick in building façades, following the example of the Palace on the edge of the town. Furthermore, houses could not be more than one storey high, and had to have a mansard roof in order, it is said, not to spoil the view from the Palace.