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:
Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.
The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.
Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.