Palais Royal

Arrondissement 1

Palais-Royal Conseil d’Etat 2016

The Palais Royal (at No. 204 Rue St. Honoré) was the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), who ordered its building to the north of the Louvre in 1628. Richelieu gave it to Louis XIII in 1636, after which its name changed from Palais-Cardinal to Palais-Royal.

It was given to the Orléans  junior branch of the Bourbons in 1692, and in 1780 its garden was transformed into an arcade square of galleries comprising some 400 boutique shops. Among the products available were gambling (up to 1836), luxury jewelry and watches, pornographic prints, and (until 1830) prostitution.

Prostitution in the Palais Royal around 1815 as painted by the German artist Georg Opiz (1775-1841)

Under the French Revolution in 1792 the Square was renamed Place de la Maison Égalité

Restored to the Orléans family in 1814, it became a focal point for Republican protests and Blanqui fought here in the 1830 July Revolution.

During the 24 February 1848 revolution against the Palace’s’ owner, King Louis-Philippe the square saw major fighting between the army, defending its position inside the Château d’Eau ( not much more than a facade resembling the Palais Royal on the south side of the Square) and the revolutionaries. The Château d’Eau was finally seized and burnt down, while the Palais Royal was sacked, its paintings were burnt or cut up and its furniture thrown into the street.

Under the second Empire Napoléon’s youngest brother, Jérôme Bonaparte, was allowed by Napoléon III to live there until his death in 1860. On the night of 23 May 1871, the Commune ordered it to be burnt down. Three fires were lit, but all were put out in the early hours of the next morning. Less damage occurred than in 1848.

After 1871 the Palais-Royal became administrative offices for different parts of the French government. Today it hosts the State Council and since De Gaulle’s 1958 introduction of the Constitutional Council, both it and the Culture Ministry (initially under André Malraux).

Palais Royal 1910