Square du Vert-Galant

A beautiful little park, the subject of many photographs and paintings, occupying the western tip of Île de la Cité.

TravelCurious Tip

This is also the departure point of the Pont Neuf tour boats if you fancy going along the Seine! (Swimming not recommended)

At the end of Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, there is a state of King Henri IV of France. He was nick-named Le Vert-Galant, meaning the go-getter, because of the great many mistresses he pursued right into his twilight years. Behind the statue, stairs take you down into the small but picturesque Square du Vert-Galant.

King Henri used to gallivant around this spot with friends, entertainers and women. As he liked to say, “Great cooking and great wines make a paradise on earth!” Another larger than life, virile male who liked a drink was also fond of the spot: one Ernest Hemingway. He used to relax here, watching the fishermen at work.

“They always caught some fish,” he wrote, “and often they made excellent catches of the dace-like fish that were called goujon. They were plump and sweet-fleshed with a finer flavor than fresh sardines even, and were not at all oily, and we ate them bones and all.” That is untrammelled enthusiasm by Hemingway’s standards, so it must be good.

One thing king Henri would surely have approved of is that his little garden, nestled in the heart of Paris, has become a popular spot for romantic strolls — and the odd proposal. The central lawn is flanked by an impressive number of green species, including weeping willows, tamarisks and lilacs, a maple and a Ginkgo biloba. Cut off from the bustle of the streets, it can almost feel like the countryside.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
French Wine
There are few countries that can boast wines as varied and refined as France.
Pont Neuf
Built to ease traffic congestion in the early 17th century, this iconic five-arch bridge is Paris' oldest bridge.
La Conciergerie
Once a royal residence, the Conciergerie became a prison during the French revolution, a notable prisoner being Marie-Antoinette.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.
One of the prettiest, most peaceful locations in Paris, the square is a hot-spot for families, dog walkers and petanque players.
Rue de Rivoli
One of the most famous streets in Paris, famed for its commercialism.

Related Tours

The Latin Quarter: Parisian Authors & Thinkers
The Latin Quarter is one of Paris' most quirky and interesting neighbourhoods. It is an ambient juxtaposition of medieval backstreets, churches and grand Haussmman-style boulevards, which were built in the 19th century as part of Paris’ modernisation, the area takes its name from medieval times when the majority of local residents were clergy or students who spoke Latin. 

  • Begin at Île de la Cité and see the stunning Notre Dame.
  • Experience the artistic haunts of Sartre, Hemingway, and Camus.
  • Get off the beaten track at Paris’ best-hidden squares and parks.
  • Learn all about the area’s post-Medieval history.
  • End your tour in one of the most beautiful parks in the world - the Luxembourg Gardens.
This three-hour walking tour begins on the edge of the Latin Quarter, on the island Île de la Cité, the city’s historical medieval epicentre. Here you will see the famous Notre Dame and will explore some other architecturally notable sights on the island, including the Conciergerie, Place Dauphine, and Square du Vert-Galan, before venturing across the distinctively Parisian Pont Neuf bridge into the heart of the Latin Quarter.

The Latin Quarter was the scene of the student uprising in May ’68, even though its medieval facade strikes a strong contrast to its liberal, intellectual and artistic side. On Boulevard St-Michel and Boulevard St Germain, you will find many cafes where the likes of Camus, Orwell, and Hemingway passed hours discussing philosophy and literature. The area is also rich with interesting book shops, most notably the Shakespeare and Company - a legendary meeting place and boarding house for many aspiring writers.

Your tour guide will direct you through the neighbourhood’s best cultural haunts: experience the wonders of medieval backstreets that are adorned with theatres and jazz clubs, unchanged since their post-war beginnings, and see the narrowest street in Paris. Visit the city’s oldest church in St Julien le Pauvre and see one of the most famous academic institutions in the world - La Sorbonne. Next stop off at the Panthéon, a mausoleum where many distinguished French figures such as Voltaire, Braille, and Rousseau were laid to rest. Then wander through the grounds of the stunning Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, the perfect place to people watch, enjoy nature, and feel like a true Parisian.


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