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a quiet sense of peace at la place dauphine

“The world is quiet here.” ― Lemony Snicket

Some years ago, maybe in 2002 or 2003, I learned of a very cheap hotel—Hôtel Henri IV—situated on the Ile de la Cité in the center of Paris. It was surrounded by chic apartments, and its entrance opened onto a quiet plaza, away from the noisy traffic in the busy streets nearby.

How could that be? I went a wandering to see what I could see.

Indeed, I did find a seedy looking entrance and, furthermore, I saw young people with backpacks leaving the hotel. I looked at the posting next to the door; I forget the prices per room then. It was cheap.

Forget about staying there. It does not exist anymore. Recently (August,2016), I went to see again what I could see. The building has been turned into very expensive chic apartments.

Inspector Massau, a good and close friend of George Simenon, the author of the Maigret novels, had a window in his office at the Police Judiciare in the Palais de Justice on la rue de Harlay; it faced the plaza where the hotel was nestled belween the luxury apartments. During the initial investigation of Marcel Petiot, the notorious serial killer during Occupied Paris, he would often pause and look out his window at the plaza. It would calm him.

Yves Montand and Simone Signoret lived on the plaza near the hotel. They sought a quiet solitude at n° 15. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

La Place Dauphine is a quiet gem in the heart of a busy and noisy Paris. Walk between “les deux pavillons d’angle,” the persistent sounds around you will fade quickly, and you will find yourself free from disturbances and softening into a state of calmness. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

La Place Dauphine is small, lined with windows and doors into apartments with some restaurants interspersed along the way. (I recommend Restaurant Paul at 15 Place Dauphine. Yes, it is the same address.) (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

In the center are shady trees and benches. Here one can sit and maybe listen to the ghosts of those who since 1615 walked into and out of the plaza. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jack Delaini #

    Hi, Mike –

    As it happens, I had just finished the book about the Petiot murders when I first read this post of yours. He’s certainly one of the more remarkable people I’ve read about, though not in a good way, of course.

    Keep having a grand time.

    Jack D.

    19/08/2016
    • Merci bien. I was reading that book along with a biography of Robespierre. One bloody book after another.

      19/08/2016

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