Place Dauphine

The Place Dauphine, laid out in 1609 while Place des Vosges was still a-building and named for Louis XIII as Dauphin, was among the earliest city-planning projects of Henri IV. The space, a rectangle with two canted ends was made over to Achille du Harlay to construct thirty-two houses of regular plan. It is approached through a kind of gateway centred on the “downstream” end, formed by paired pavilions facing the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the far side of the Pont Neuf. They are built of brick with limestone quoins supported on arcaded stone ground floors and capped by steep slate roofs with dormers, very like the contemporaneous facades of Place des Vosges. Few visitors penetrate Place Dauphine that lies behind them, where all the other buildings have been raised in height, given new facades, rebuilt, or replaced with a heightened pastiches of the originals. The former enclosing east side was swept away to open the view to the monumental white marble Second Empire Palais de Justice (built in 1857-68), like a glazed colonnade centered on the Place Dauphine, the remains of which now form a kind of forecourt to it.