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
Pont Neuf
Built to ease traffic congestion in the early 17th century, this iconic five-arch bridge is Paris' oldest bridge.
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.
'The Coronation of Napoleon'
A painting completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, the official painter of Napoleon, depicting the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre-Dame de Paris.
'Liberty leading the people'
Is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled King Charles X of France.
Egypitan Wing at the Louvre
Counted as one of the world’s largest such collections, it includes more than 50,000 pieces that give a detailed overview of Egyptian life and customs from the earliest days of Ancient Egypt.

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