In front of the equestrian statue of Henri IV on La Place du Pont Neuf, the narrow Rue Henri-Robert lets you access an almost hidden, surprisingly quiet spot in the very heart of Paris: La Place Dauphine. While the Place des Vosges was still being built, Henri IV ordered the construction of this second planned square in 1607. Named for his son, the future King Louis XIII who was at that time the Dauphin of France, the square is actually triangular in shape. In fact, it is the remarkable architecture of the Place Dauphine that makes it such a peaceful and intimate oasis; very little noise gets in.
Charles Baudelaire could have been describing this romantic spot when he wrote: “Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté, luxe, calme et volupté,” (“There, everything is order and beauty, luxury, calm and voluptuousness”). Brick and stone buildings with lovely little cafés and restaurants look onto the small triangular park in the middle of the square. Cars and motorcycles seldom pass through the mostly pedestrian square, but if you should want to get off the cobblestone streets, you can walk through the center of the square on bright, sandy ground. There’s even a boules pitch to play pétanque with your friends on a nice evening. Weave your way between young red chestnut trees in the geographical center of Paris, or sit on one of the numerous benches and enjoy the charming façades of the elegant buildings, art galleries and cozy café-restaurants around.