PARVIS, Parvise, or Parvyse, an open space surrounded by an enceinte or stone parapet in front of buildings, particularly cathedrals or large churches; probably first used to keep the people from pressing on and confusing the marshalling of processions. The word " parvis " is French and is a corruption of Lat. paradisus, an enclosed garden or paradise (q.v.), which is sometimes also used instead of " parvis." The Lat. paradisus is defined by Du Cange [Glossarium, s.v.) as atrium porticibus circuindatum ante aedes sacras. At St Paul's in London the " parvis " was a place where lawyers met for consultation.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)