Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oct 16, Part 4 - Place Dauphine, Paris

From Rue Harlay, we entered Place Dauphine. It's an unusal place and has a feeling like no other. Two rows of buildings come to a point like two sides of a triangle, reaching nearly to the point of the Ile de la Cite. There's still a bit more beyond this triangular city square, and we'll go there in a few minutes. Last time I was here it was winter. I've seen Christmas trees here, and snow. This time we get to see the fall leaves. Everyone uses one particular word for this square: "quiet." The buildings shut out the sounds of the city, and comparatively few people enter here. If they walk or drive on this part of the island, they usually stay to one side or the other for convenience or the more expansive view. Place Dauphine has featured in a number of books. I like the place for a visit, but I always have the feeling that if you were lonely and lived here, it could be really depressing.

I think the square is quite pretty, and buildings are kept up. The fence here seems to be the entrance to underground parking.

Here's one of the buildings along the north side.

Here are the upper stories of the same building.

Nice reflecttion of the facades across the square.

Now we're standing near the point of the triangle facing the Rue Harlay below the level of the square and the Palais de Justice on the other side of it. This makes the bottom, or open end of the triangle. In ages past, it too was filled by tall buildings, but in some century, this side was torn down.

Here's the Palais de Justice across the Rue Harlay from the square.

I returned to the south side of the square to have a look at a particular hotel that had caught my interest in the guidebooks years before. It's one of the cheapest hotels in a safe district, but you can't book a room on the Internet. You have to write a letter, or possibly book by phone. It was described as clean but very, very basic. To reach the toilet from one of the rooms, I think you have to take an outside passage or something odd like that. I would have tried staying there, but didn't plan far enough ahead. Anyway, I love being on the Left Bank. I still might try it someday. I went upstairs to look, and although I didn't see any of the rooms, it seemed clean enough, just very small, and the people were nice.

The front entrance to the Hotel Henri IV. The link goes to their web site. I hadn't seen the rooms before. It looks charming, especially for that price!

In the entryway (and the guidebooks) you learn that the Henri IV has no stars. I took this photo to prove it! Well, it's true. Here's a no-star hotel I'd like to try!

Clearly, this is looking toward the point of the triangle. There are restaurants and cafes here, so one wouldn't be totally without some activity and food here on the island. It only feels a bit isolated, things are not really that far away. It's simply - as everyone says - quiet, especially in the seasons I've been here.

The two streets merge here at the point and open onto the comaratively busy street that crosses Pont Neuf and a noisier, busier world.

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