The main courtyard
The main courtyard, with access via a vaulted passage, displays a noble main facade and two wings, bordered by colonnaded galleries.
The space of this beautiful courtyard is now decorated with a set of 260 unequal sections of columns, striped black and white.
This exhibit created a lot of controversy. The Orleans gallery, which dates from the Restoration, separates the courtyard from the gardens. Paul Bury created the fountains. The simple, calm gardens provide an unexpected heaven of peace just a few minutes from the great boulevards and the Place de l’Opera.
The ingenious lighting of the gardens can be best seen at dusk. Lampposts and hanging lanterns illuminate the galeries and entrances. In the Galerie de Beaujolais is the luxury restaurant Le Grand Vefour, which not only has delicious cuisine, but also exquisite interior decoration.
The Palais Royal is in two distinct parts : the palace itself and the galleries that surround the park on three sides. The Palais Royal was built in 1629 for Cardinal Richelieu by Le Mercier, who was also responsible for the Pavillion de l’Horloge in the Louvre and the Sorbonne. The Palais is made of two parts. One, being the palace and the other the galleries that surround the palace. The park was put in the care of the court gardener back when it was called the Palais-Cardinal. When Louis Xlll died, his wife, Anne d’Autriche moved into the palace with her three sons and the Duc of Orléans.
In the 1840’s the Palais was very popular. With its gardens, shopping galleries and cafés, people came from all over. Today, this area is alot quieter. It houses the Council of the state, the Constitutional Council, the ministry of Culture, the Comedie Française, where the classics of French theatre are performed and various departments of the Beaux-Arts.