NileGuide Expert Says:
Get away from it all here, surrounded by the most famous monuments in Paris
Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, Paris, France
NileGuide Expert tip:
Look out for the historic Fontaine Wallace (Wallace drinking fountain) in a corner of the square
This shaded green space, more of a triangle than a square, at the western tip of the Ile de la Cité provides a convenient respite from the crowds swarming around the cathedral of Notre-Dame despite its proximity to Pont Neuf and the pier for the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf Seine cruises. Once a place where people came to bathe, it became a café-concert (music bar) in the mid-1860s, and was bought by the city for just one franc in 1884. There are plenty of benches under the chestnut and apple trees – or take a walk along its quays, where nothing comes between you and the waters of the Seine. The square possibly owes its romantic image to the prolific lover Henri IV, known for his many mistresses, who lent his nickname to this place and whose mounted statue guards its entrance. The inscription tells us he was celebrated "pour sa view sentimentale mouvementée".