Flâneries in Paris: Explore the Palais Royal and Environs

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Flâneries in Paris: Explore the Palais Royal and Environs
This is the 11th in a series of walking tours highlighting the sites and stories of diverse districts of Paris. As soon as I arrived at the Place Colette, via the Palais Royal metro station, I knew I was in one of those special little corners of Paris. The cheerful glass baubles decorating the metro entrance promised gaiety and the Café de la Comédie, just opposite the city’s most illustrious theater, the Comédie Française, was doing a brisk trade. I was immediately intrigued by an information panel saying yes, this had been a royal corner of Paris, but was also one of the places where the revolution began. I ducked through the archway just to the right of the theater, and straight through to the Palais Royal to see what was left of royal Paris. Glass baubles decorating the metro entrance, courtesy of Marian Jones The Cour d’Honneur is immediately impressive, the black-and-white striped pillars of Daniel Buren’s art installation adding a 1980s touch to the courtyard’s 17th-century regal splendor. But today I went straight through that too, to the palace gardens, where it’s always a treat to stop off, perhaps to sit on one of the benches engraved with a line or two of poetry, maybe to snap the beautiful long rows of trees or the elegant arcades which line the garden. People-watching is always fun and this time I saw a number of ladies d’un certain âge, one dressed head to foot in black complete with leather trousers, blouson, beret and sunglasses, who had brought along their little dogs for a meet’n’yap. Daniel Buren’s striped columns in the Palais Royal Cour d’Honneur, courtesy of Marian Jones It’s a good place to lose oneself in history. I pictured little Louis XIV, king of France at only five years old, who lived here as a child and played in the gardens. Yet the palace was also the scene of one of the most terrifying episodes of his childhood when anti-monarchists rampaged through the grounds and demanded to be taken up to his bedroom. Louis, only 10 at the time, was told to pretend to be asleep until they withdrew, which fortunately they did, but the incident left him with a lifelong distrust of Paris and was said to have been one of the reasons why he chose to move his court to Versailles when he was older. Portrait of Louix XIV, the Sun King. Public domain.

Lead photo credit : The Palais Royal, view of the galerie de Beaujolais. Photo credit: Mcleclat / Wikimedia commons

More in Bibliothèque Nationale de France, brasserie, café de la Comédie, Comédie Française, Cour d'Honneur, ecole militaire, Flâneries in Paris, galerie vivienne, Louis XIV, Napoleon, notre dame, Palais Royal, royalty

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Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.


  • Theresa Lapin
    2022-11-11 02:43:26
    Theresa Lapin
    Great article! This is one of my favorite gardens in Paris. I always come back here with my daughter and sit in those iconic green chairs around the fountain to read or people watch. Then we hop into the Galerie Vivienne to "vitrine leche."


    • Marian Jones
      2022-11-14 09:20:42
      Marian Jones
      Thank you! Yes, I too often revisit this lovely little area. I find the mix of things you mention quite irresistible and it's a little different in every season. Perfect!