Palais Royal

The Palais Royal, sometimes alternatively called the Palais-Cardinal is a palace, built between 1633 and 1639. It is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. When it was called Palais-Cardinal, Cardinal Richelieu used to reside there as the palace was built to be his personal residence. When he passed on, the palace was acquired by the king, and it since became royal property with the subsequent change of name to the Palais Royal.

The palace has seen many a royal residents, such as Louis XII and Louis XIV. While new apartments were added and redecorations made during the stay of Louis XIV, it was Philippe d’Orleans who commissioned the greatest reconstructions to be made. The new structures around the palace gardens were built in neoclassical architecture. Shops, cafes and restaurants were added too, considering the gardens were to be later opened up to the public. The palace became quite the attraction owing to the extensive work done on it. The garden, Jardin du Palais Royal were quite famous with the Parisians not only because of their beauty and serenity, but because the police were not allowed inside the gardens. The garden therefore became a place of liberty, and business too thanks to the many shops and boutiques opened in the arcades.

During the French Revolution, the Palace was looted and robbed, and at one point almost completely destroyed by fire. The palace was however restored much later to its former glory. Today it serves more of a political function, as the Constitutional Council is located there, as well as the Ministry of Culture. There is a national library at the palace, with a vast collection of print material.

The Palais-Royal is an attraction with its classical architecture and beautifully designed garden. The palace itself is not open to the public, but the garden and the courtyard are. The courtyard, so called Cour d’Honneur still has the arcades it was so famous for back in 18th century. There are shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. The courtyard is characterized with black and white posts both tall and short. A fountain is also present, with a unique and impressive design. It is what separates the courtyard from the garden.

Jardin du Palais Royal is a green serene environment with a centered fountain and pond. The sound of splashing water is especially calming and mind-clearing. There are neatly arranged row of trees on either side of the garden, and these provide a cooling shade in the heat of the day, more so during the hot days of summer.

The Palais Royal makes for a great attraction if you are ever in the 1st arrondissement. It’s a colossal structure that served as a royal residence for some of the most famous leaders of France. If not for the history lessons or the classical and neoclassical architecture that the palace boasts, you could visit for the calming environment in the garden. It provides a quite environment not only for individuals but for families with their kids as well.