Insiders’ Paris: Rambling Around the Palais Royal

Courtney Traub's introduction to an iconic (but under-appreciated) area

Add This

Helen Twigg

Courtney Traub
HomeAway travel expert


Insiders’ Paris: Rambling Around the Palais RoyalShort quiz: where in Paris can you admire the sun casting a warm glow on the opulent details of a 17th-century palace, browse quaint little boutiques, roam through elegant shopping arcades, and enjoy a glass of wine or gastronomic meal at a restaurant tucked away from the street? Just a block north of the Louvre Museum and its throngs of tourists lies an area that few visitors to Paris ever see: the Palais Royal and its quiet, arrestingly charming corners. Spend an afternoon exploring the area, and you’ll discover why locals prize it—and would prefer to keep it secret.

Getting There and Getting Around: The best way to reach the area is to take Metro Line 1 or 7 to the Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre stop. As you exit the metro onto Place Colette (named after the French writer), admire the whimsical, brightly coloured sculpture reminiscent of transparent glass beads or candy that decorates the entrance, and designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel in 2000. I highly recommend that you take a map of central Paris with you to orient yourself on this itinerary, since it takes you through quiet, winding little streets and passageways; you may well feel disoriented without one.


 

Top things to see and do around the Palais Royal


   

Palais Royal and Gardens (8 rue de Montpensier, 1st) Palais Royal and Gardens (8 rue de Montpensier, 1st)

Completed in 1629 and originally called the Palais-Cardinal, this stunning palace was initially home to the Cardinal Richelieu. Following the Cardinal’s death it was taken over by King Louis XIII and renamed the Palais-Royal. In the late 18th century it became the site of one of Paris’ most important public markets and shopping arcades, and has maintained that tradition, with artisan boutiques and luxury fragrance makers now occupying the square’s “galleries”, and overlooking the elegant formal gardens. Standing in quirky contrast to the regal 17th-century architecture, ultramodern, black and white columns from Daniel Buren jut out at the south end.
 

View holiday rentals in .1st Louvre

 
   
 

   

Old shopping arcades Old shopping arcades

Exiting the Palais Royal from the north side, you’ll find yourself on the Rue des Petits Champs. From here, at #4, you can access the Galerie Vivienne, a majestic old shopping arcade built in the 1820s that preserves its light, airy elegance and today houses numerous shops, cafés and restaurants. Admire the glass rotundas, spiral staircase, delicate mosaics and other decorative detail here, and browse the shops here and at the adjoining Galerie Colbert, before exiting on Rue de Richelieu.

View holiday rentals in .2nd Bourse

 
   
 

   

Bibliothèque nationale (National library) Bibliothèque nationale (National library)

From the shopping arcades, you’ll spill out onto Rue de Richelieu. Just across the street at number 58 is the Bibliothèque nationale (old National Library), one of Europe’s first public research centres and holding an important collection of rare books and manuscripts still consulted by scholars today. In total, some six million maps, books, and documents are stored here. Temporary exhibits dedicated to book and art history are open to the public.

View holiday rentals in .3rd Le Marais

 
   
 

   

Eating and drinking Eating and drinking

For fine French-style dining in the area that won’t break the bank (and, remarkably, offers many vegetarian options) I recommend Macéo, located just behind the Palais Royal at #15, Rue des Petits Champs (Tel: +33 (0)1 42 97 53 85). You can visit their website here. For an extra-gourmet indulgence, you can try to get a seat at Le Grand Vefour, a three-starred Michelin restaurant within the walls of the Palais-Royal—but there’s a long waiting list, so reserve ahead. You can make a booking here. Lunch menus there are far more reasonable, so you might want to consider a midday meal. (17 Rue du Beaujolais, Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 96 56 27)

View holiday rentals in .4th Pompidou Centre

 
   
 

   

Palais Opera Garnier Palais Opera Garnier

Hop on the metro from Pyramides (line 7) to the Opera station, or walk (10 minutes) to take in the splendor of the nearby Palais Opera Garnier. Once home to the Paris opera, it now houses the national ballet, and stages several important performances every year. The opulent facade, featuring numerous sculptures in copper and other materials, was designed by Charles Garnier in the late 19th century. Inside, more sumptuous details await, including a magnificent, seven-ton bronze and crystal chandelier, and a surrealist but soft-toned fresco from French painter Marc Chagall in the main theater.

View holiday rentals in .5th Quartier Latin

 
   
Images

Bibliothèque nationale (National library) © Vincent Desjardins
Palais Royal © Julien

Paris Accommodation

Paris Paris Le Marais – Lovely Ideally Located

Our fully refurbished in 2012 apartment, is located on the 2nd floor (1st French floor) of a XVII th century building in Marais, a few steps away from the charming Place des Vosges. Fully equipped, this studio can sleep up to 2 persons. The livin...

Loft in Paris with private terrace, calm, charm, children welcome.

In a private courtyard, our recently restaured photographer's loft on 160 sqmeters, on 2 levels, like a duplex, have a private terrace with bambou. Comfortable, easy way of life,big open space, perfect for familys and children. Fully equipped,free...

One bedroom apartment, Bastille

In addition to your convertible sofa bed, you'll find a large double bedroom with vast amounts of closet space, floor-to-ceiling windows framed by elegant draped curtains, and plenty of shelf space for unpacking your trinkets. ...

Two bedroom apartment, Left Bank

The stylish kitchen comes fully equipped with everything that you could need to rustle up some French taste sensations: why not take advantage of the Organic farmers' market on nearby Boulevard Raspail to stock up on some fres...

Quiet And Airy Luxury Studio In The Upper Marais

This fully equipped studio is two blocks away from the very trendy rue de bretagne at the filles du calvaire metro station, line 8. it is located at the second level (third American) of a XIX century elegant building with no elevator and opens...

Apartment situated within the 8th District on the Champs-Elysees.

The apartment is situated on the second floor of a grand apartment block located within the 8th District and less than a 3 minute walk from the Franklin Roosevelt Metro Station on the Champs-Elysees. The main entrance hallway, with wooden floors, ...

 CLOSE TO THE HEART OF PARIS Haussman SPACIOUS APARTMENT OF 140 M2

This 5 room apartment is conveniently located on boulevard de Magenta at the top of the tenth district. Just a few blocks from the Opera district, the Grands Boulevards and even the Canal Saint-Martin, Gare de l'Est / Gare du Nord offers many tour...

A beautiful and relaxing apartment in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés

From the 2nd to the sixth floor are several units available in this building. Try the colors of the fabrics or furniture differ from pictures shown, but the quality and style are equal. Each apartment has an entrance a small bedroom with a double...

Ideal Combination of Location, Convenience and Price

All the major studios - or junior suite - 45 square meters include a spacious room with a double bed (or 2 singles as your request) a seating area with sofa (quickly turns into a double bed quality), an armchair reading and a coffee table plus a d...

A large, bright studio with terrace

The ground floor apartment has a generous surface area of ??55 m2 With its large windows and high ceilings has plenty of light and air. The room has a double bed on a sofa bed for 2, 2 chairs an a table and a table with chairs for dining. There...

France mapCorsica Provence Alps Cote d'Azur Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrenees Aquitaine Rhone Alpes Auvergne Limousin Poitou Charentes Franche Comte Burgundy Alsace Lorraine Champagne Ardenne Ile de France (Paris region) Centre-Loire-Valley Pays de la Loire Britanny Normandy Normandy Nord-Pas-de-Calais Picardie World Italy Spain


Search for holiday rentals
Search for holiday ideas
 

Special offers and late deals

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox

Advertise with HomeAway

Related Articles


 

Other Categories



Popular Articles