Place Dauphine named after the Dauphin

Place Dauphine and Square du Vert Galant are located at the western tip of the Ile de la Cité and are delineated by the Pont-Neuf.

Place Dauphine - Triangular shape
Triangular shape

Place Dauphine was named after the Dauphin, the future King Louis XIII.

Henri IV commissioned the creation of the square in the late 16th century.

It was the king’s second urban development, after the Place Royale, the current Place des Vosges.

At that time, the Ile de la Cité was much smaller than today, and was also surrounded by a series of islets.

Two of them, Ile aux Juifs and Ile du Passeur, located by the western tip of the Ile de la Cité, were attached to it in 1607.

Square du Vert-Galand was later landscaped on the first islet, while the second was integrated to the medieval royal walled gardens.

Place Dauphine was developed over these gardens, and has therefore retained the triangular shape of the island tip!

Achille de Harlay, the developer of Place Dauphine

The president of the Law Courts, Achille de Harlay, built the identical and semi-detached stone and red brick houses that encompass the square.

Place Dauphine on Plan de Turgot in 1739
Place Dauphine on Plan de Turgot in 1739

These houses were all identical in style to those of Place des Vosges, however, more modest.

They also had shops at street level and living quarters in the upper floors.

Place Dauphine had then two entrances; its entrance on the Pont-Neuf has not changed since.

The eastern entrance cut through the row of houses that delineated the square from Rue de Harlay.

Both sides of the street were lined by houses.

However, the houses located on the western side of Rue de Harlay were demolished in 1874 in order to provide a new entrance (Vestibule de Harlay) to the Law Courts.

Place Dauphine restaurants
Restaurants around the square

Those located on the other side of the street were burnt during the Paris Commune of 1870 and were subsequently demolished.

As a result, the houses on the southern and northern sides of Place Dauphine are the only remaining.

However, most have since been enlarged with additional floors.

The others were transformed or rebuilt to the identical in order to preserve the architectural unity of the square.

The only two original houses are those that frame the square entrance on Pont-Neuf!

Directions: 1st District – Ile de la Cité
Metro: Cité on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.856512 – Long 2.342593

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