The Place des Vosges is now the oldest residential square in Paris. It was made during the reign of Henri IV (1605-1612) and may have been designed by du Cerceau. The original name was the Place Royale. It is widely admired for the perfection and symmetry of its design. Working inwards, the square has: an arcade beneath the houses; an elegant street; iron railings; shady seating under clipped trees; green lawns with excellent fountains; crossing paths with open sunny seats; a central plantation of trees with a statue. Why have we lost the ability to create such brilliant urban open space?