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

Satisfying Apartment In Beaugrenelle

Record time Quai de Grenelle is a real crowd pleaser – refreshingly quiet, all understated tones and refined furnishings, yet so close to the Eiffel Tower that you needn’t miss a beat. The floors are silky and wooden, the living space is flowing ...

Airy And Spacious Townhouse With A Gym And Cinema Room In Trocadéro

By the horns When you find a home this handsome, you have to grab it. Spread across five floors, there’s a definite colonial style on show in the dark woods, rich leathers and swathes of linen. Moose, antelope and deer gaze down from white walls,...

apartment/ flat - PARIS

(Text automatically translated) Tastefully decorated, bright southwest, high floor, not overlooked, panoramic balcony with splendid view of Sacre Coeur, shops and subway 100m. Near Science City and La Villette, Canal Saint Martin and cinemas

Apartment, Paris 5 Quartier Latin, central, calm, spacious, bright, cosy

The apartment is located in a typical Haussmann building, built in the early 20th century, on the 4th floor with lift. It was fully renovated in 2010 while retaining its Parisian style: parquet, ceiling moldings, three beautiful old marble chimney...

Superb - Montorgueil / Louvre Renovated Apartment

You will enjoy this comfortable and well equipped apartment, located in the heart of the “Village Montorgueil”, only few minutes walking distance from the Louvre. It is surrounded by nice restaurants, teraces, and great local food shops. Le Marais...

Designer prestigious Louvre Richelieu apartment

Facing a nice and quiet courtyard, this superb apartment is walking distance to all major attractions: 2 minutes from Opéra Garnier, 5 minutes to the Louvre museum. The trendy and lively village Montorgueil, which offers cafes, restaurants and foo...

Prestigious Elegance Marais Apartment, ~A/C~, Net, Computer

Prestigious XVIII stylish apartment, fully renovated in January 2010 Located in the heart of LE MARAIS, exquisite Rue des Rosiers Totally quiet, sunny, bright and extremely luminous. Luxurious and elegant decoration. Permanent service and assistan...

Design & Luxurious Soleil Apartment in the Heart of Marais

- Modern, and design apartment, totally renovated, in the heart of LE MARAIS, exquisite rue des Rosiers - Extremely sunny, bright and luminous, with warm colors for a beautifull atmosphere - A pure jewel, as we say in french, a luxurious 'Pied à t...

LE MARAIS - PRESTIGIOUS RENOVATED 2BR APARTMENT

Enjoy the tranquility of this elegant Parisian apartment organised around a spacious living room opened to a large dining room. Beside, 2 large and quiet bedrooms. The light colors, modern furniture items and style bring a quiet elegance for a co...

Montmartre with A View : Special Last Minute Offer 15% discount

This 2 bedroom apartment located in front of the Basilica Sacré Coeur and 1 minute away from the famous place des Tertres (where artists draw portrait all year long) is just amazing. It has been decorated by an architect and every detail has been ...

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
 


WIN £10,000 FOR YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox

Advertise with HomeAway

Related Articles


 

Other Categories



Popular Articles