The Palais Royal was built in 1629 by Cardinal Richelieu, an influential French minister. It became a royal palace after the cardinal bequeathed the building to King Louis XIII. Louis XIV, the Sun King, spent his youth here before moving to the nearby Louvre and later to Versailles.
Between 1871 and 1874, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, cousin of King Louis XVI expanded the palace by adding arcades and shops. At the time the galerie d'Orléans, the colonnaded space that separates the garden from the cour d'honneur also housed gambling dens, cafes and there were even prostitutes of both sexes.
The Palais Royal was mobbed during the revolution of 1848 and was almost destroyed by fire in 1871. Fortunately the basic structure survived. After its restoration in 1876 the building was handed over to the government. It currently houses the Council of State and other government offices.
The palace is not open to the public, but you can visit the courtyard and the garden. The courtyard, known as Cour d'Honneur, is dominated by a large sculpture by Daniel Buren, installed in 1986. It consists of 280 black and white striped truncated columns. Adjacent to the courtyard is the Galerie d'Orléans, a courtyard flanked by two colonnades. It is home to two modern fountains created by the Belgian sculptor Pol Bury.
The galerie d'Orléans leads to the Jardin du Palais Royal, the palace garden. The garden is formally laid out around a central fountain. It is a quiet refuge in the heart of the city. The current garden is somewhat smaller than originally designed in 1630 for Cardinal Richelieu due to the construction of sixty arcaded buildings on three sides of the park by Louis-Philippe d'Orléans in 1874. The buildings around the garden now house restaurants, deli shops and galleries.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.