A little history of the place Dauphine
This place looked like a swampy land, in the beginning! Historian Henri Sauval said in the 17th century: “It was a sterile solitude drowned by water every year.” You can picture the scene!
The land was composed of 3 islands: l'ile aux Juifs ("Jews' island"), l'île of Passeurs de Vaches ("Cows shepherd's island") and l'île de la Gourdaine.
King Henri IV allowed his friend Achille de Harlay, president of Paris Parliament, to gather those 3 islands and raise a street and a square on it, in 1607.
This square was named after the dauphin, the future Louis XIII!
It was the second square raised in the 17th century, after place Royale (current place des Vosges).
In the past, it was used by merchants who needed a quiet place for trading.
In 1874, architect Viollet-le-Duc destroyed eastern houses in order to open the square on river Seine.
By the way, do you know we found here a statue of general Desaix, killed in Marengo, made by Charles Percier in 1802? It was damaged, so it moved in Riom (Auvergne) in 1874, Desaix native city...