An oasis of greenery and silence Palais-Royal garden (le jardin du Palais-Royal) with an area of 20,8 thousand m2 is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, north of the Palais Royal, surrounded by urban development of the 18th century.
400 years of history
The Palais-Royal garden was created at the request of Cardinal A. de Richelieu by the landscape architect P. Degot in 1633, shortly after the construction of the Palais-Royal was completed. In 1674, the alleyways and flower beds were redeveloped in the garden with the placement of small architectural forms according to the new plan of A. Le Nôtre.
After the death of King Louis XIII in the palace from 1643, Anna of Austria lived for some time with her sons Louis and Philip. During these years, Cardinal G. Mazarin organized mini-hunts and military training for them in the park. As an adult, Louis XIV intended to transfer the Palais-Royal park to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.
In 1730, the territory of the garden was noticeably reduced due to the construction of new streets of Valois, Beaujolais and Montpensier. It has become shorter by 58 m and narrower by 43 m and has acquired a modern rectangular shape with sides of 275 m in length and 100 m in width. After a fire at the Opera in 1786, the Duke of Orleans ordered the construction of a pavilion in the center of the garden, which temporarily replaced the theater stage.
The last significant changes to the layout of the Palais Royal garden were made at the beginning of the 19th century. during the reign of Charles X. In the center of the Palais Royal garden is a large round pool with a fan fountain. Later, flower beds were created around it, designed by the American landscape architect M. Radkin.
Mass plantings of trees were carried out in the garden in 1910 and in the early 1970s. Most of the 486 trees growing in the garden are chestnuts and lindens. In 1986, a fountain was built in the park, the design of which was the Belgian architect P. Bury. It is a structure of several polished metal spheres that are washed by streams of water.
At the same time, another composition of contemporary art created by the French artist D. Buren appeared next to the central entrance to the Palais Royal garden, which caused an ambiguous reaction. It consists of 260 different-sized black-and-white columns arranged in parallel rows. Their arrangement makes the garden courtyard look like a chessboard or some kind of fantastic game.
The controversy of the aesthetic value of this work of art did not prevent it from quickly becoming one of the garden's legends. Therefore, in order to fulfill their innermost desire, lovers need to throw a coin on the highest of these columns.
The Palais Royal garden is protected from the city noise by four galleries located along its perimeter: Beaujolais in the north, Valois on the east side, Montpensier in the west and Sadovaya or Orleansky in the south by the palace. Three of the four galleries with 180 arches, decorated with pilasters and Corinthian columns, are located on the first floors of similar buildings built in 1781 by the architect V. Louis.
In order to reduce the cost of maintaining the Palais Royal, the premises on the ground floors of the houses surrounding the garden and the apartments above them were rented out by their owner, the Duke de Chartres. In the 18th - early 19th century. they housed many cafes and small shops. Police were not allowed into the garden of the Palais Royal, which, on the one hand, led to the flourishing of brothels of all stripes, and on the other hand, attracted the creative elite and free-thinking people here.
The Palais Royal garden has always been open to the public, but after such a decision by the duke, it became one of the centers of the cultural and political life of Paris. In July 1789, the lawyer C. Desmoulins, in his speech to the people gathered in the garden of the Palais-Royal, appealed to the people to take up arms, and a few years later C. Corday bought a dagger in one of the shops near the garden to kill Marat.
Over the years, writers F. d'Eglantine and A. de Lamantine, naturalist A. Humboldt, literary critic Ch. O. de Saint- Beuve, Duke C. F. de Berry, politician and historian A. Thiers, philosopher D. Diderot, revolutionaries P. Robespierre and J. J. Danton.
Not far from the central pool in 1786, exactly on the Paris meridian passing through the garden, a small bronze cannon was installed, invented by the engineer and watchmaker Rousseau. It was equipped with an ingenious optical mechanism that automatically fired a shot on sunny days from May to October exactly at noon. The fuse of the cannon charge was ignited by the sun's rays at the moment when the Sun was at a certain point in the sky. In 1799 it was moved to a new location in the southern part of the park.
Until the end of the 19th century. the shot of this gun was considered the standard of time for the Parisian street clock. In 1911, after the transition of France to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), this exact time signal was banned.
The resumption of the tradition took place in 1990, but soon it was interrupted again due to the theft of the cannon. In 1998, an exact copy of the gun was installed in its place, but without a working optical mechanism. Since 2011, the cannon has fired again, but only one day a week. Every Wednesday at noon, it is now fired by the pyrotechnician of the Palais Royal.
Address: 6 Rue de Montpensier, Paris 75001
Telephone : +33 1 47 03 92 16
Underground : Palais Royal Musee du Louvre
Working hours : 8:00-20:30