Located across from the Louvre in the heart of Paris, the Palais-Royal is an architectural highlight known for its scenic gardens and regal heritage. Originally named the Palais-Cardinal—it was built for Cardinal Richelieu in 1633—the palace later housed French royalty until Versailles was completed in 1682.
While it’s often overshadowed by the world-famous art museum next door, the Palais-Royal boasts its own cultural legacy, oasis-like gardens, and architectural grandeur. Today, the landmark serves multiple functions; for one, it’s the seat of several government bodies, including the Constitutional Council, the Council of State, and the Ministry of Culture. It also contains La Comédie Française, one of the oldest still-active theaters in the world, the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, another centuries-old theater, and Le Grand Véfour, a Michelin-starred restaurant whose origins date to 1784.
Given its convenient location, the Palais-Royal is a stop on numerous tours, including bike tours, history- and architecture-themed walking tours, and private driving tours of Paris.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The palace complex and its gardens are free to visit.
- Jacques Lemercier, the architect who built the Palais-Royal, also designed the Sorbonne.
- In September, the state rooms at the Palais-Royal are open to visitors as part of the European Heritage Days event.
- The Palais-Royal hosts numerous special events throughout the year, from Easter Egg hunts to Fête de la Musique concerts.
How to Get There
Given its perfectly central location in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, the Palais-Royal couldn’t be simpler to access. Take Métro lines 1 or 7 to the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre stop, which is just steps away. You can also take the 21, 27, 39, 48, 69, 72, 81, or 95 bus lines. The Palais-Royal is also easily accessed on foot, by car, or by Vélib’ bike.
When to Get There
Between October and March, the Palais-Royal is open daily from 7:30am–8:30pm. From April to May it’s open from 7am–10:15pm; from June to August it’s open from 7am–11pm; and during September it’s open from 7am–9:30pm. Visitors are asked to clear the palace grounds 30 minutes prior to the official closing time.
The Colonnes de Buren
One of the Palais-Royal’s most distinctive (and controversial) elements is an art installation in its inner courtyard (the Cour d’Honneur). Created by artist Daniel Buren in 1985, Les Deux Plateaux (also known as the Colonnes de Buren) consists of numerous black-and-white striped columns.