Palais Royal, Paris
Le Palais Royal (Royal Palace) is in the city center, not far from Louvre, but I have put it on my off the beaten path section because it can only be visited during some special events! But here she is, the blue headed VT reporter ready to visit the unvisitable (uh, my English is getting worse!) for VTers.
Le Palais Royal was built by Cardinal de Richelieu in 1624 who wanted to be not far from Louis XIII living at Louvre. At his death in 1642 it will become a royal property. Since then it will change of royal hands several times: Anne of Austria, who considered the Louvre palace uncomfortable, Henriette-Marie de France, Philippe d’Orleans etc etc etc. Few things remain from this ancient palace, Louis Philippe d’Orleans will order to build new façades and new decoration inside by 1750. This renewed palace will be handed down to his son in 1780 with the condition to keep opened to public the gardens and main courtyard. The palace will suffer other works depending on its new owners’ needs and current aesthetics. Since 1875 it is the headquarter of the Conseil d’Etat, the Ministère des Affaires Culturelles (in the Valois wind) and the Conseil Constitutionnel (in Monpensier wind).
I visited the Palais Royal in one of those rare open days. Nice, yes, full of sculptures, tapestries, historic or allegoric paintings etc etc etc. The rooms that attired my attention were the Assemblée Générale Hall (picture 1) and the Conseil d’Etat’s vice-president office, with a nice Mariannes collection (picture 2). Actually the position of “president” does not exist any more: historically the Conseil d’Etat was ruled by the head of government so nowadays the “vice president” is “the president” (French are very strange).
Only façades and roofs are classified as Historical Monument.
Strolling in the alleys, notice one of the oldest Parisian trees: this Robinia pseudoacacia was brought from US East Coast. Planted here in 1636! About common trees & plants (to European mainstream, i.e). Most of them used to be real globe-trotters. Basil, so dear to Italians originates from India & China. Tomato, from Mexico (but... oh! it is a fruit). Those platanes, dear to Parisians, fill their tree-lined boulevards but are North Asia natives.
Banana, common Western World daily fruit & Carribeans poster boy, originated from India! Who said "rhum" ? Sugar cane originates from Borneo & Sumatra. Hit South China. Alex the Great discovered it in India. Introduced to Romans, spread out through North Africa by Arabs, it finally hit Brazil and Carribean thanks to Portuguese navigators. A whole past of globe-trotting !
Jardin alpin gathers plants from the many mountains of the world. A real challenge to tackle as they don't share the same natural environment. Plants from Himalaya, Japan, China hills are neighbours of Morrocan, Arizona mountains. For each biotope having been restaured, Le Jardin scientists & gardeners joined efforts allowed, for instance, botanist Sébastien Vaillant to study & demystify plant sexuality in early XVIII cent. It also allowed to house endangered species.
I guess it's great to bring kids there to know about what their delicious hot chocolate, coffee, refreshing mango juice should be made of. Or that this beautiful blue poppy belongs to the opium family...
And.. you, you could make a halt from browsing the 240.000 sq². To "smell the rose". Just saw on the web that you could learn pruning roses for free there. Booking is necessary at 01 40 79 33 25 as it is reportedly the craze of the moment. I just love roses. Maybe about time to learn to care about those beauties in my yard ? There are pretty on pictures, aren't they ?
[Warning! It is not allowed to take pictures w/ tripod there.
No pictures from my 84 visit: took pictures of plants that I have in my area & that I saw there.]
This place is really modern, from its architecture to its situation. Close to the old Palais Royal and its heavy historical background, it was pretty pretentious to build such a modern fountain... But, in the end, it's a pretty good melting of two different artistic inspirations...
The gardens of the Palais Royal exist for centuries and a lot of important historical events began or took place there... Now, it's just a nice place to relax during summer, play "petanque" or have some minutes outside, facing the sun, when you're a buzy businessman working in the neighbourhood with just a few time to lunch....
Plenty of french movies (and I guess foreign movies too) are related to the past. I don't know why, probably because people deeply love their historical background !!! Anyway, if it has to happen at a moment situated between the 17th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the director of the movie will probably "invade" the "rue Beaujolais", whose architecture, pavement and houses around have no specific age....
This street is not far away from the Metro Palais Royal (just cross the gardens of the Palais Royal).
Every now and then, in the gardens of the Royal Palace (close to the Louvre and the "avenue de l'Opera"), some strange sculptures are on display all along the alleys...
palais-royal;paris 1er,with a beautiful garden inside,I used to come here to have lunch when I worked at the national library