Domaine National du Palais Royal: A Former Royal Residence in Paris

If you’re looking for a dose of culture and history, the Palais Royal is definitely worth a visit. Located in the heart of Paris, this former royal palace has been home to some of France’s most iconic figures. Read on to learn more.

palais royal

Palais Royal in Paris: Basic Information

The Palais Royal is a historic building located in the center of Paris. It is a 17th century palace with arcades and garden. The location has been a spot for aristocrats and royalty, as it has been home to some rich individuals who have contributed to the history of France.

The Royal Palace History

 Palais Royal is a public garden in the center of Paris. It is the most important remnant of the gardens of the Palace of Cardinal Richelieu, which were among the largest and most beautiful in Europe. The palace was built between 1624 and 1632 for Cardinal Richelieu, who commissioned architect Jacques Lemercier to design it. This is the reason why it was originally called the Palais-Cardinal.

Palais Royal Today

Nowadays, the Palais is the seat of the Conseil d’Etat, Ministry of Culture and the Constitutional Council. The central garden serves as a public park. Richelieu gave it to Louis XIII, and Louis XIV gave it to his younger brother, the Duke of Orléans. Despite Lemercier’s work, the subsequent dukes of Orleans made numerous modifications over time, leaving little of his original design.

Later Modifications of the Exterior

In 1986, there was a wave of introducing modern architecture into the Paris landscape. At the request of François Mitterrand, sculptor and painter Daniel Buren installed a set of 260 columns of light Carrara marble and black Pyrenean marble bases in the courtyard of the palace, which are illuminated in green at night. These types of alterations were not approved by everyone and caused some controversies, however, as time passed they became one of the landmarks of Paris.

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Palais Royal Council of State

The Place du Palais-Royal and the Louvre are visible from the Palais-Royal’s buildings, which face south across the Rue de Rivoli. The Conseil-d’État, or State Council, is located in the middle of the Palace. It has three stories and a cupola with a rounded pediment.

Ministry of Culture

The Palais Royale, a former home of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans that was later used by King Jerome of Westphalia in the 1820s, is home to the French Ministry of Culture. The gilded and highly decorated salon of Jerome contains sculpture, torchieres, and other decorations.

The Constitutional Council

The Constitutional Council has an apartment that was originally built in the early 19th century. There is a grand stairway with two flights, and the first floor is surrounded by columns and vaults. There are some Roman elements, which appeared in the original design. The chandelier added in 1999 adds a bit of a modern touch.

Palais Royal Garden

Tha Palais Royal itself is not open to the public, however, the gardens surrounding the palace are free for everyone to enjoy. And there are a lot of interesting landmarks on that site. There are several monuments and fountains in the garden. They include a sculpture created by Paul Lemoyne called The Shepherd and the Goat.

Restaurant: Le Grand Véfour

The Restaurant Le Grand Vefour was open in the arcades of the Palais Royal in the 18th century. In the 20th century, it was one of the favorite restaurants of French poets and authors, and today it has a lot of its original design.

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Theatre of Comédie Française

Theater of Comédie Française (or Salle Richelieu) is a theater located in the palace. The inside is lavishly adorned with gold and blue and green motifs, which were popular in the 18th century with traditional theaters. Today, the theater can accommodate up to 2,000 spectators.

Shopping Arcades

The arcades surrounding the palace’s public gardens housed over 100 boutiques, cafés, salons, hair salons, bookshops, museums, and numerous snack stalls. These luxury items such as expensive jewelry, furs, paintings, and furniture were sold by these retailers. There were glass windows installed that allowed the middle-class visitors to window-shop. The arcades became extremely popular. The Palais Royal was a place where people from all walks of life mingled and socialized. It was also a place where one could see the latest fashions on display.

Palais Royal Location

Palais Royal is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, at 43 Rue de Valois. There are several other attractions nearby. They include the Louvre Museum, Musée de l’Orangerie, a famous Parisian square Place de la Concorde, Palais Garnier, which is a famous opera and many more. Palace Royale is definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. It’s an absolutely stunning palace, and it’s full of history. Whether you’re interested in art, fashion or simply want to soak up some of Paris’s famous architecture, the Palais Royal is sure to impress.


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