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.

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Rue de Valois 3, Paris, France
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Founded: 1629
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in France

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jim C (6 months ago)
We ran around in the gardens and had a good time. The columns of different heights provided much more entertainment than I thought they would. A good place to take a break or let kids run off some steam. And not very busy. Open early and late, if you need something to do when other places are closed.
Peter Joe (7 months ago)
This place is small but in my opinion the nicest garden in all of Paris. The way it is enclosed by palatial buildings, and the comfortable seats around the fountain make for a peaceful break from the crowded streets. See the photos for yourself.
David Pope (8 months ago)
Beautiful enclosed park. We went late August. The park is surrounded by a covered walkway you can use to stay dry if it rains. Make sure to head to the Southern end to check out the square with black and white painted columns. It's a perfect place for kids to run around and explore.
Matthew Turner (8 months ago)
I like to come and sit here to eat lunch. When it is warm, there is a rush for the chairs, so arrive early! I think it would be nicer with a bit more grass and a bit less gravel, but I think that about most Parisian parks. The art installations are quite nice too.
Alexandra P. (10 months ago)
Beautiful historic garden, decorated with colorful roses and refreshed with sparkling fountains. A great place to eat your take-away lunch, if you don't mind sharing the area with lots of office workers, enjoying their meal sitting straight on the ground. If you want to touch the history and feel as if you were in an old classic French movie, highly recommend to spend some magic moments in there!
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