View looking West over the
'Square du Vert-Gallant'
"For a long time the western tip of the Ile de la
Cite gave way to a muddy marshy area broken by the river
currents. In 1314
Philip le Bel had a stake erected on one of the mounds of ground for the
Grand Master of the Order of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, watching him
burn from his palace window.
At the end of the 16C Henri III decided to reorganise
this untidy no-mans-land: the mud ditches were in-filled consolidating the
patches of solid ground, a great earth bank was amassed to support the
future Pont Neuf, and the south bank was raised by some 6m - 20ft. By
about 1580 the new terrain was ready for the developers.
In 1607 Henri IV ceded the land
between the Conciergerie and the Pont Neuf for a triangular square to be
built. The Square ('Place Dauphine') was named after the Dauphin,
in honour of the future Louis XIII.
Down the stairs behind the Henri IV statue is the
'Square du Vert-Gallant'. This serene stretch of green, below the
hum of traffic, is at its natural ground level, before the land was build
up by Henri III. It's name derives from the nickname given to Henri IV,
alluding to his reputation as an amorous gentleman despite his
Guide to Paris)