The Palais-Royal is the novel of Paris; there is no more genuine and more varied history than those of this edifice, to the magnificence of which nothing can be compared. Everything is represented with a lively and ardent feature. The gardens of the Palais-Royal offer their visitors the opportunity to stroll through the centuries. A perfect opportunity to learn more about this high place in Paris and finding the serenity we know today.
Today, seen from the sky, the Palais-Royal is a large rectangle, 405 meters long, 123 meters wide, filled with gardens. The exterior appearance of the building is luxurious: the facades of the building, of Ionic order, are decorated with triangular pediments and pilasters. Inside the courtyard, the gardens are bordered by porticoes, galleries under arcades punctuated with columns. The interior rooms are beautifully decorated, with walls sometimes painted in trompe l’oeil.
The columns of Buren (officially called The Two Plateaux ) are a work of art by the artist Daniel Buren, installed in the main courtyard in 1986. These small white cylinders, striped black on which passersby can climb contrast with the austerity of the building around. However, the perfect alignment of the columns is reminiscent of classical architecture.
The Palais-Royal Theater is one of the great Parisian theaters, located in the Palais-Royal. It was first built in 1637 by Richelieu. Molière’s troop performed there for about ten years, before being chased out of it. Several times burned down, the theater was completely rebuilt in 1830 by the architect Louis Regnier de Guerchy. With a capacity of about 700 people, it produces many successful comedians. The luxurious appearance, with gilding, sculptures, chandeliers, and red dyes, dates from 1880. Paul Sédille (wp) decorated the place in a Louis-XV style very overloaded. He also demonstrated innovation by installing the fire escape on the exterior facade (see image), which was very rare at the time! In truth, he just did not want to have to change the interior of the theater. Another theater is present at the Palais Royal, built in 1791 in the East Wing, at the time of the enlargements of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans. His name is even better known today: it is about the Comédie-Française .
The gardens of the Palais-Royal are a large square of about 20,000 m². Separated from the street by the shopping malls that surround it, these gardens are very quiet, appreciated by the many Parisians who come here to relax. Moreover labeled “remarkable garden”, this French garden designed by the gardener King himself, Pierre Desgotz, consists of four rows of trees and a large pool in the center.
The Garden of the Royal Palace is in the center of a quadrilateral closed on four sides: one side houses the Council of State and the Constitutional Council and the other three are galleries hosting the Ministry of Culture, fashion shops, furniture and old objects, and cafes.
In the Gallo-Roman period, the location of the Royal Palace and the garden was located north-west of Lutece in the forest of Rouvray. During the planting of trees in 1781, two rather impressive basins of the surface are discovered, which suggests that there was at this location the first spa in Paris. According to the medals found, it dates back to 270 years. In some places, the depth was two meters below the level. Researchers believe that its use ceased a hundred years afterward.
The various transformations
The first transformations took place in 1730: the old elms are felled, the two basins grouped into one, with a jet of water. Around 1752, the garden opened to the public saw the installation in the wide alley, a bookstore’s barracks, the appearance of damsels of small virtue, the planting of the Krakow Tree around which were gathered news, loafers, idlers, as well as the installation of benches.
Not far from there, Diderot strolled there regularly towards the end of the afternoon “that it is nice, that it makes ugly, it is my habit to go towards the five o’clock in the evening to walk to the Royal Palace; it’s me that we always see alone, dreaming on Argenson’s bench. ” From 1781 to 1784, the garden was reduced by about a third because of the construction of the surrounding streets. Despite this, he was going to experience an activity and a life like no other, more intense than the Place Royale: it was open until 23h in winter and lamin summer. The soldiers, the women in aprons as well as the people in livery were forbidden there, only the couples and the beautiful ladies were exhibited, it is there that Bonaparte made its first conquest there in 1787. The police were forbidden in this garden, the first fruits of the Revolution were born there when Camille Desmoulins went up on a table to call the people to raise the weapons, the leaves torn from the trees serving cockades and signs of rallying. The galleries around the garden were the place of various meetings: intellectuals as well as girls of joy, gambling dens, gambling circles, literary cabinets, restaurants that would become famous.
In 1632, Cardinal Richelieu, Prime Minister of Louis XIII, took ownership of a plot located in front of the Louvre. The subdivision has the shape of a large rectangle, including a garden in its center. Richelieu built a theater in the south-east wing, which Louis XIV decided in 1660 to open to the public. The Palais-Royal becomes the property of the Orleans, the junior branch of the kingdom of France, in February 1692, when Louis XIV offers it to Sir, his brother. The palace garden is then open to the city.
Throughout the XVIII th century, the Cardinal Palace and its garden undergo many transformations. In 1781, Philippe d’Orléans decided to carry out a real estate transaction by building parcels located on the edge of the garden. The program is directed by Victor Louis (1731-1800), one of the great architects of the XVIIIth century. Victor Louis is inspired by the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, which is also found in his most famous work: the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, conceived in 1773 and inaugurated in 1780.
The project includes the development of housing, shops, theaters and cafes, spread over three wings. The suite of houses opens onto the flowerbeds of the garden by a continuous gallery of 180 arches. The facades, punctuated by colossal pilasters with composite capitals, are surmounted by a balustrade. Quincunxes of Tuscan columns supporting flat vaults provide the link between the garden and the three neighboring streets.
Philippe Equality also builds from 1786 to 1790 the Theater of the Palais-Royal to replace the Opera House, burned in 1781.
The agitated image of the Palais-Royal is linked to that of Louis XVI’s cousin, Louis-Philippe Joseph of Orléans (1747-1793), Duke of Chartres then Duke of Orleans, who in 1792 took the title of Philippe Égalité. The duke is distinguished by his openness to reformist ideas, before and during the Revolution. He decides to change the name of the garden of the royal palace into “Garden of the Revolution”. He will even vote for the death of Louis XVI before being himself sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris.
Philippe Égalité makes the Palais-Royal an exceptional place, a city in the city, protected by rules that only the status of its owner can allow. Thus, the police do not have the right to enter. Fashion merchants, cafes, print shops and engravings, booksellers, etc., share the 88 shops, while the arcades are home to a diverse crowd of prostitutes, gamblers and loafers.