Photo Essay: Why the Palais Royal is a Favorite Spot in Paris

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Photo Essay: Why the Palais Royal is a Favorite Spot in Paris
What’s my favorite place in Paris? That’s an impossible question, but certainly my “Top 5” includes the beautiful Palais Royal. It’s a hidden gem located just across the street from the Louvre (rue de Rivoli side) through the archway at Place Colette. As you first enter the Cour d’Honneur you will find artist Daniel Buren’s Les Deux Plateaux (also known as the “Colonnes de Buren“). This controversial installation consists of 252 striped marble and concrete columns. Many think these sleek striped columns are too contemporary for this elegant space, but I find them a photographer’s delight. Perch yourself on one and enjoy all the activities swirling around you. Children can’t resist riding or running between the columns – it’s one of the most unique “people watching” spots in town. Adjacent, in the elegant Gallery d’Orleans, you’ll enjoy Pol Bury’s Sphérades twin contemporary fountains with reflective spheres. Don’t be surprised if you encounter groups of school children in a quick pick-up game of soccer around these fountains. Continue your stroll to enter the Jardin du Palais-Royal. This enclosed space features two large garden areas divided by a lovely circular fountain. It’s amazing how quiet it is here. I always pull up a green chair and prop my weary feet on the edge of the fountain. I take in a breath of complete joy at being so lucky to be right there with the Parisians who are conversing, reading books, having a picnic, or watching the children splash their hands in the water. Once you’ve recharged, walk around the elegant perimeter arcade that is known for its chic specialty shops. Bacqueville offers antique heraldry, medals and coins. La Maison de l’Ambre sources stunning amber jewelry. At the north end, the Boutique du Palais Royal’s specialty is old-fashioned styled toys; nothing electronic or battery powered for sale here! Down the west side, Didier Ludot’s windows showcase vintage haute couture. On the east side is one of my favorite shops: Maison Fabre, gantier. Imagine an entire shop with elegant gloves of all kinds lining the walls – it’s eye candy for your hands as well as your camera. (Editor’s note: For more information about Paris’s artisanal glove-makers, see this article, “Glove Love,” published in France Today magazine.) Oui, the Palais Royal has it all: interesting art installations, a quiet place to relax, and fabulous shopping. Now you know why it is one of my favorite places in Paris.

Lead photo credit : Pol Bury’s Sphérades fountains in the Palais Royal, by Virginia Jones

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In 2007, Virginia Jones visited Paris for the first time. This former teacher credits that trip with her new career in photography and love of the City of Light. After her second trip in 2008, she created Paris Through My Lens, a daily photoblog. She travels to Paris once a year to photograph and has had her work published in a number of online sites and magazines. At home, she teaches photography classes, gives phototalks on Paris and her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and is currently working on Photos in French, a resource for French teachers, using her images of Paris gathered during her 11 trips to the city she considers her second home. Check out her Paris photography blog:


  • sandy
    2015-08-21 01:51:32
    LOVE these photos! A month ago, I was wandering around Paris near sunset on a Sunday,when I came upon the Palais Royal. I was enchanted by the garden, (closed) shops , rows of trees, and odd columns. I was nearly alone there and it was something I will never forget. It seems that around every corner is something magical to discover in Paris.


  • ItsJo
    2015-08-21 00:55:35
    Love and enjoying these and ALL photos around Paris. Makes me miss it even More, after my four times visiting. Hope the site has More photos like these....thank you!


  • Sim
    2015-08-10 19:07:47
    Great photos!