In 1601, Henry IV announced that a triangular public space would be constructed and given to Achille de Harlay, the first president of the Parliament of Paris and one of Henry's loyal allies during the French Wars of Religion. The square was named Place Dauphine in honor of the King's son, the future Louis XIII. Harlay divided the square, which was situated away from the traffic on the Pont Neuf, into twelve lots in 1608. The houses constructed at the new Place Dauphine were rented by artisans, tailors, printers, booksellers and officers of the nearby Palais de Justice.
Up until 1633, by which point the square only consisted of a few houses, one of the main attractions there was the trestle stage used by the famous Parisian comic performer Tabarin. Along with his brother and their small theatre troupe, he put on short, Italian-style performances.
During the French Revolution, a group of royalist extremists known as Les Actes des Apôtres began burning rare manuscripts in the area around the Place Dauphine, destroying most of Eustache Deschamps' library. In response, the Assassin Charlotte Gouze sent her agent Arno Dorian to save as many manuscripts as possible. Meeting with a contact at the square, he was able to retrieve several manuscripts and brought them to safety at the Café Théâtre.