Short description

The Place Dauphine, 102 meters long and 67 meters wide, occupies a triangular space, in the west of the Ile de la Cité.

On the land occupied by this square, there were once two islands. The larger one was called the Ile au Bureau from the name of its owner, Hugues Bureau. Later, the construction of the Pont Neuf, from 1578 to 1607, led to the attachment to the Île de la Cité of three additional alluvial islets flush with the water: the islet of the Passeur-aux-Vaches (or "île aux Bœufs"), the île à la Gourdaine (also called "île du Patriarche") and the île aux Juifs.

The square was named by King Henri IV himself, in honor of the dauphin born in 1601, the future Louis XIII. The distributed private lots had to be built under common rules, which was a fine example of concerted urban planning. And "The buyers agreed to build on the lots bordering "a place of exchange or stock exchange".

Close to the Louvre, the Place Dauphine became a place of exchange and stock exchange, attracting goldsmiths, spectacle makers and engravers. Of the thirty-two original uniform houses, only the two corner pavilions on the Pont Neuf remain intact.

Today, the Place Dauphine is one of the most romantic squares in Paris. The place Dauphine welcomes nowadays many art galleries and small restaurants-cafés, which ensures a frequentation, but without the crowd.

Many artists have mentioned or even lived on Place Dauphine, even today. The singers and actors Yves Montant and Simone Signoret who lived there, immortalized it by staying at n°15 Place Dauphine.

Localisation
Open hours

No closing

Access

Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine
75001 Paris

  • Metro - Pont Neuf on the right bank (Line 7) or Cité (Line 4)
  • RER : ligne B (Station Saint Michel - Notre Dame)
  • Bus - 21, 27, 58, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 85
Address

Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine
75001 Paris

 

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 24″ N 2° 20′ 33″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85651 2.34329
Full description

The Place-Dauphine square is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, originally triangular in shape and surrounded by buildings on each side that closed off the space. It is located on the Ile de la Cité, west of the old Palais de la Cité at the current location of the Palais de Justice de la Cité.

According to IGN calculations published in 2016, the geographic center of Paris is located on the square, at coordinates 48° 51′ 24″ N, 2° 20′ 32″ E.

The Place-Dauphine square : difficulty to make one's place

The Place Dauphine, 102 meters long and 67 meters wide, occupies a triangular space, in the west of the Ile de la Cité. The point of the triangle faces west and leads to the middle of the Pont Neuf, to the place du Pont-Neuf, via the short rue Henri-Robert . This street was once considered part of the square. The Place Dauphine constitutes, with the Palais de Justice, the part of the island belonging to the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
The east side of the square is separated from the Palais de Justice by the rue de Harlay.
On each of the other two sides of the square, a row of buildings separates it from the Quai de l'Horloge to the north and the Quai des Orfèvres to the south. The row of buildings on the rue de Harlay was demolished in the 19th century.
The space that extends between the 2 rows of buildings to the north and south and the rue de Harlay occupies 2,665 m2. It is called Square de la Place Dauphine.

Origin of the Place-Dauphine square: three islands to make one

On the land occupied by this square, there were once two islands. The larger one was called the Ile au Bureau. It took its name from Hugues Bureau who, on February 6, 1462, bought this site for 12 deniers of cens and 10 sols of annual rent. The neighboring island was less wide, but longer and its name was "l'île à la Gourdaine" from the name of the mill called "de la Gourdaine".

The construction of the Pont Neuf, from 1578 to 1607, led to the attachment to the Île de la Cité of three alluvial islets flush with the water: the islet of the Passeur-aux-Vaches (or "île aux Bœufs"), the île à la Gourdaine (also called "île du Patriarche") and the île aux Juifs. In 1607, after the beginning of the works of the Place Royale (now Place des Vosges) and the inauguration of the Pont Neuf, King Henri IV wished to develop the western tip of the Ile de la Cité between the Palais de la Cités and the Pont Neuf. He decided to create a square on the site of the old islets and "the king's orchard".

On March 10, 1607, Henri IV gave his faithful and old servant Achille I de Harlay, first president of the Parliament of Paris, the land forming the western end of the island. This was a reward for his loyal services during the League.
He received the authorization to create a triangular square. He was responsible for constructing the new buildings in the spirit of the Place Royale (currently under construction, Place des Vosges) and in accordance with the plan imposed by the king and the Grand Voyer Sully: a "promenoir" surrounded by houses "of the same order" (of the same style), comprising two floors, the overhangs of which would be decorated with stone tables standing out against the brick, and the arcades of which on the first floor would house the stores.

De Harlay, after paying a modest fee, had the work (and the adjoining buildings) started in May 1607,

Why "Place Dauphine"?

The square was named by King Henri IV himself, in honor of the dauphin born in 1601, the future Louis XIII. As agreed, Achille de Harlay originally built thirty-two identical houses in white stone chaining, brick and slate roofs, two stories high, with a first floor with full arches (comprising a first floor with a gallery, two square floors and an attic floor), around an enclosed triangular square. He distributed private lots, but set common building rules, which was a fine example of concerted urban planning. "The buyers agreed to build on the lots bordering "a place of exchange or stock exchange" - our Place Dauphine of today.

A place of exchange and stock exchange

Close to the Louvre, the Place Dauphine became a place of exchange and stock exchange, attracting goldsmiths, spectacle makers and engravers. It is mentioned under the name of "Place Dauphine" in a manuscript of 1636.

As the houses were investment properties, in the absence of royal servitudes, the successive owners modified the square, no longer respecting the original uniformity.

Evolution of the Place-Dauphine square over time

Of the thirty-two original uniform houses, only the two corner pavilions on the Pont Neuf remain intact. The Pont Neuf connects the two banks of the Seine by leaning on the Ile de la Cité. The other buildings were either modified, demolished, rebuilt, or raised, starting in the 18th century. In front of these two original pavilions, there is a bronze statue of King Henri IV (inaugurated on August 25, 1818, the first having been melted down during the Revolution) and the Square du Vert-Galant. --> See Listing

The revolution and the continuation of history

During the French Revolution and the First Empire, the square was renamed, so that between 1792 and 1814, it was called "Place de Thionville" in memory of the heroic resistance of the inhabitants and the garrison of Thionville against the Prussian armies in 1792.

From 1803 to 1874, the Desaix fountain, in honor of General Desaix, who died at the battle of Marengo in 1800, was located on the square.

In 1874, on the initiative of Viollet-le-Duc, the even side of the rue de Harlay (the base of the square's triangle) was demolished to clear the rear facade of the Palais de Justice, built in 1854. Trees are now planted in the space that this row of buildings once occupied, to mark it. The Place Dauphine amputated of one of the sides of its triangle, makes it lose its character of almost closed space of origin.

The Place-Dauphine square today

It is located at the "prow" of the boat that forms the Ile de la Cité. The Place Dauphine is one of the most romantic squares in Paris.

The Place Dauphine has certainly not recovered its exact original architectural unity. But the architects took advantage of the recent construction of an underground parking lot and its central median to correct the slope of the land. Large trees have made it possible to reconstitute partially and harmoniously its closed aspect.
The calm of this square remains unchanged, the buildings on the sides, inclined in a triangle on the 2 remaining sides, are very effective against nearby noise pollution.
The place Dauphine welcomes nowadays many art galleries and small restaurants-cafés, which ensures a frequentation, but without the crowd. Hidden by small charming buildings, "intimate" and "secret" are the first words that come to mind for visitors.
To get to the Place Dauphine, you have to go to the Place du Pont-Neuf (at the level of the Pont Neuf) and take the small street Henri-Robert.

Place-Dauphine square and the artists

  • The Place Dauphine is mentioned in literature in Gérard de Nerval's La Main enchantée, then by Anatole France in Les dieux ont soif. There is also a small reference in the famous Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte.
  • André Breton, mainly because of its triangular shape evoking a female pubis, considered it in a surrealist way as "the sex of Paris".
  • The Place Dauphine is also a famous film location for movies and series (for example Love lasts three years in 2011).
  • In the musical field, Jacques Dutronc quotes it in the song of Jacques Lanzmann, Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille, extracted from the album of 1968.
  • Yves Simon, an author living there, also mentions it in his song Nous nous sommes tant aimés (album Macadam).
  • The singers and actors Yves Montant and Simone Signoret immortalized it by staying at n°15 Place Dauphine.

Remarkable buildings and places of memory

  • No 7: Vert-Galant building, built by Henri Sauvage in 1932. At the time of its construction, this luxury building was equipped with a garbage incinerator, two elevators and three maids' rooms per apartment.
  • No 15 :
    Simone Signoret and Yves Montand lived here.
    Yves Simon lived there.
  • 23: Galerie des Orfèvres, art gallery.
  • 26: site of the stake where Jacques de Molay perished on March 11 or 18, 1314. He was the 23rd and last Master of the Order of the Temple. On the orders of King Philip the Fair, he was arrested in Paris on October 3, 1307, who accused the Templars of heresy and obscene practices. After some hesitation, Pope Clement V and other Christian rulers did not support him. After a not very fair trial, Jacques de Molay was executed in March 1314 on a pyre erected on the Île aux Juifs in Paris. The best-known and oldest legend about Jacques de Molay concerns the curse he is supposed to have hurled at Philip the Fair and his descendants, the king of the Capetian family, and those who condemned him: "Pope Clement!... Knight William!... King Philip!... Within a year, I summon you to appear before the court of God to receive your just judgment! Cursed! Cursed! Cursed! Cursed to the thirteenth generation of your races!" All of these characters died within a year. A popular version of the legend attributes the death of Louis XVI to the curse, which it places in the thirteenth generation after Philip the Fair, whereas the thirteenth generation is that of the children of Louis XIV.
    A memorial to the memory of Jacques de Molay is located behind the statue of Henri IV, on the Pont neuf
  • No. 28: André Antoine (1858-1943), French actor, creator of the Théâtre-Libre, lived there from 1912 to 1934. A plaque commemorates him. At the same number, the Gaubert paper mill, founded in 1830, is still in activity.

Buildings of the Place-Dauphine square under protection, registered or classified as historical monuments

The ground of the Place Dauphine is itself registered as a historical monument since 1950
Many buildings bordering the square are also listed or classified. On the odd side (south), this concerns numbers 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 and 31 and on the even side (north) numbers 12, 14, 16, 24, 26 and 28.

 

 

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  • July 24, 2024 8:56 am local time

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