Square du Vert-Galant
Square du Vert-Galant Review
The equestrian statue of the Vert Galant himself—amorous adventurer Henry IV—keeps a vigilant watch over this leafy square at the western end of the Ile de la Cité while his real head, rediscovered in 2010, sits in a bank vault. The dashing but ruthless Henry, king of France from 1589 until his assassination in 1610, was a stern upholder of the absolute rights of monarchy and a notorious womanizer. He is probably best remembered for his cynical remark that "Paris vaut bien une messe" ("Paris is worth a mass"), a reference to his readiness to renounce Protestantism to gain the throne of predominantly Catholic France. To ease his conscience, he issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598, according French Protestants (almost) equal rights with their Catholic countrymen. The square is a great place for a quai-side picnic. It's also the departure point for Vedette Pont Neuf tour boats (at the bottom of the steps to the right).
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