The Palais-Royal (French pronunciation: [pa.lɛ ʁwa.jal]) is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. Originally called the Palais-Cardinal, it was built for Cardinal Richelieu from about 1633 to 1639 by the architect Jacques Lemercier. Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis XIII, and Louis XIV gave it to his younger brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. Philippe and the succeeding dukes of Orléans made such extensive alterations over the years, almost nothing remains of Lemercier's original design.
Entrance front of the Palais-Royal
|Address||204 rue Saint-Honoré, Place du Palais-Royal|
|Current tenants||Conseil d'État, French Ministry of Culture, Constitutional Council|
|Design and construction|
The Palais-Royal now serves as the seat of the Ministry of Culture, the Conseil d'État and the Constitutional Council. The central Palais-Royal Garden (Jardin du Palais-Royal) serves as a public park, and the arcade houses shops.
Originally called the Palais-Cardinal, the palace was the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu. The architect Jacques Lemercier began his design in 1629; construction commenced in 1633 and was completed in 1639. The gardens were begun in 1629 by Jean Le Nôtre (father of André Le Nôtre), Simon Bouchard, and Pierre I Desgots, to a design created by Jacques Boyceau. Upon Richelieu's death in 1642 the palace became the property of the King and acquired the new name Palais-Royal.
From 1649, the palace was the residence of the exiled Henrietta Maria and Henrietta Anne Stuart, wife and daughter of the deposed King Charles I of England. The two had escaped England in the midst of the English Civil War and were sheltered by Henrietta Maria's nephew, King Louis XIV.
The Palais Brion, a separate section near the rue de Richelieu to the west of the Palais-Royal, was purchased by Louis XIV from the heirs of Cardinal Richelieu. Louis had it connected to the Palais-Royal. It was at the Palais Brion that Louis had his mistress Louise de La Vallière stay while his affair with Madame de Montespan was still an official secret.
Philippe I, Duke of OrléansEdit
Henrietta Anne was married to Louis' younger brother, Philippe de France, duc d'Orléans in the palace chapel on 31 March 1661. After their marriage, Louis XIV allowed his brother and wife to use the Palais-Royal as their main Paris residence. The following year the new duchess gave birth to a daughter, Marie Louise d'Orléans, inside the palace. She created the ornamental gardens of the palace, which were said to be among the most beautiful in Paris. Under the new ducal couple, the Palais-Royal would become the social center of the capital.
The palace was redecorated and new apartments were created for the Duchess's maids and staff. Several of the women who later came to be favourites to King Louis XIV were from her household: Louise de La Vallière, who gave birth there to two sons of the king, in 1663 and 1665; Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan, who supplanted Louise; and Angélique de Fontanges, who was in service to the second Duchess of Orléans.
The court gatherings at the Palais-Royal were famed all around the capital as well as all of France. It was at these parties that the crème de la crème of French society came to see and be seen. Guests included the main members of the royal family like the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria; the duchesse de Montpensier, the Princes de Condé and de Conti. Philippe's favourites were also frequent visitors.
After Henrietta Anne died in 1670 the Duke took a second wife, the Princess Palatine, who preferred to live in the Château de Saint-Cloud. Saint-Cloud thus became the main residence of her eldest son and the heir to the House of Orléans, Philippe Charles d'Orléans known as the duc de Chartres.
The Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture occupied the Palais Brion from 1661 to 1691 and shared it with the Académie Royale d'Architecture from 1672. The royal collection of antiquities was installed there under the care of the art critic and official court historian André Félibien, who was appointed in 1673.
In 1692, on the occasion of the marriage of the duc de Chartres to Françoise Marie de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Blois, a legitimised daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, the King deeded the Palais-Royal to his brother. The new couple did not occupy the northeast wing, where Anne of Austria had originally lived, but instead chose to reside in the Palais Brion. For the convenience of the bride, new apartments were built and furnished in the wing facing east on the rue de Richelieu.
It was at this time that Philippe commissioned a Grande Galerie along the rue de Richelieu for his famous Orleans Collection of paintings, which was easily accessible to the public. Designed by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, it was constructed around 1698–1700 and painted with Virgilian subjects by Coypel. The cost of this reconstruction totaled about 400,000 livres. Hardouin-Mansart's assistant, François d'Orbay, prepared a general site plan, showing the Palais-Royal before these alterations were made.
Philippe II, Duke of OrléansEdit
When the Duke of Orléans died in 1701, his son became the head of the House of Orléans. The new Duke and Duchess of Orléans took up residence at the Palais-Royal. Two of their daughters, Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans, later the Duchess of Modena, and Louise Diane d'Orléans, later the Princess of Conti, were born there.
At the death of Louis XIV in 1715, his five-year-old great-grandson succeeded him. The Duke of Orléans became Regent for the young Louis XV, setting up the country's government at the Palais-Royal, while the young king lived at the nearby Tuileries Palace. The Palais-Royal housed the magnificent Orléans art collection of some 500 paintings, which was arranged for public viewing until it was sold abroad in 1791.
He commissioned Gilles-Marie Oppenord to redesign the apartments of the Duchess on the ground floor in 1716 and to decorate the Grand Appartement of the Palais Brion in the light and lively style Régence that foreshadowed the Rococo, as well as the Regent's more intimate petits appartements. Oppenord also made changes to the Grande Galerie of the Palais Brion and created a distinctive Salon d'Angle, which connected the Grand Appartement to the Grande Galerie along the rue de Richelieu (1719–20; visible on the 1739 Turgot map of Paris). All of this work was lost, when the Palais Brion was demolished in 1784 for the installation of the Théâtre-Français, now the Comédie-Française.
After the Regency, the social life of the palace became much more subdued. Louis XV moved the court back to Versailles and Paris was again ignored. The same happened with the Palais-Royal. Louis d'Orléans succeeded his father as the new Duke of Orléans in 1723. He and his son Louis Philippe lived at the other family residence in Saint-Cloud, which had been empty since the death of the Princess Palatine in 1722.
Louis Philippe IEdit
In 1752 Louis Philippe I succeeded his father as the Duke of Orléans. The Palais-Royal was soon the scene of the notorious debaucheries of Louise Henriette de Bourbon who had married to Louis Philippe in 1743. New apartments (located in what is now the northern section of the Rue-de-Valois wing) were added for her in the early 1750s by the architect Pierre Contant d'Ivry. She died at the age of thirty-two in 1759. She was the mother of Louis Philippe II d'Orléans, later known as Philippe Égalité. A few years after the death of Louise Henriette, her husband secretly married his mistress, the witty marquise de Montesson, and the couple lived at the Château de Sainte-Assise where he died in 1785. Just before his death, he completed the sale of the Château de Saint-Cloud to Queen Marie Antoinette.
Louis Philippe IIEdit
Louis Philippe II d'Orléans was born at Saint-Cloud and later moved to the Palais-Royal and lived there with his wife, the wealthy Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon whom he had married in 1769. The couple's eldest son, Louis-Philippe III d'Orléans, was born there in 1773. Louis Philippe II succeeded his father as the head of the House of Orléans in 1785.
Theatres of the Palais-RoyalEdit
The Palais-Royal had contained one of the most important public theatres in Paris, in the east wing on the rue Saint-Honoré (on a site just to the west of what is now the rue de Valois). It was built from 1637 to 1641 to designs by Lemercier and was initially known as the Great Hall of the Palais-Cardinal. This theatre was later used by the troupe of Molière beginning in 1660, by which time it had become known as the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. After Molière's death in 1673 the theatre was taken over by Jean-Baptiste Lully, who used it for his Académie Royale de Musique (the official name of the Paris Opera at that time).
The Opera's theatre was destroyed by fire in 1763, but was rebuilt to the designs of architect Pierre-Louis Moreau Desproux on a site slightly further to the east (where the rue de Valois is located today) and reopened in 1770. This second theatre continued to be used by the Opera until 1781, when it was also destroyed by fire, but this time it was not rebuilt. Moreau Desproux also designed the adjacent surviving entrance facades of the Palais-Royal.
At the request of Louis Philippe II, who controlled the Palais-Royal from 1780 onward, two new theatres were constructed in the Palais-Royal complex shortly after the fire. Both of these new theatres were designed by Victor Louis, the architect who also designed the shopping galleries facing the gardern (see below). The first theatre, which opened on 23 October 1784, was a small puppet theatre in the northwest corner of the gardens at the intersection of the Galerie de Montpensier and the Galerie de Beaujolais. Initially it was known as the Théâtre des Beaujolais, then as the Théâtre Montansier, after which Victor Louis enlarged it for the performance of plays and operas. Later, beginning with the political turmoil of the Revolution, this theatre was known by a variety of other names. It was converted to a café with shows in 1812, but reopened as a theatre in 1831, when it acquired the name Théâtre du Palais-Royal, by which it is still known today.
Louis Philippe II's second theatre was larger and located near the southwest corner of the complex, on the rue de Richelieu. He originally intended it for the Opera, but that company refused to move into it. Instead he offered it to the Théâtre des Variétés-Amusantes, formerly on the boulevard du Temple but since 1 January 1785 playing in a temporary theatre in the gardens of the Palais-Royal. This company changed its name to Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 15 December 1789, and later moved into the new theatre upon its completion, where they opened on 15 May 1790. On 25 April 1791 the anti-royalist faction of the Comédie-Française, led by Talma, left that company's theatre on the left bank (at that time known as the Théâtre de la Nation, but today as the Odéon), and joined the company on the rue de Richelieu, which promptly changed its name to Théâtre Français de la rue de Richelieu. With the founding of the French Republic in September 1792 the theatre's name was changed again, to Théâtre de la République. In 1799 the players of the split company reunited at the Palais-Royal, and the theatre officially became the Comédie-Française, also commonly known as the Théâtre-Français, names which it retains to this day.
Louis Philippe II also had Victor Louis build six-storey apartment buildings with ground-floor colonnades facing the three sides of the palace garden between 1781 and 1784. On the outside of these wings three new streets were constructed in front of the houses that had formerly overlooked the garden: the rue de Montpensier on the west, rue de Beaujolais to the north, and rue de Valois on the east. He commercialised the new garden complex by letting out the area under the colonnades to retailers and service-providers and in 1784, the gardens and surrounding structures of the Palais-Royal opened to the public as a shopping and entertainment complex. Over a decade or so, sections of the Palais were transformed into shopping arcades that became the centre of 18th-century Parisian social, economic and social life.
Though the main part of the palace (corps de logis) remained the private Orléans seat, the arcades surrounding its public gardens had 145 boutiques, cafés, salons, hair salons, bookshops, museums, and countless refreshment kiosks. These retail outlets sold luxury goods such as fine jewelry, furs, paintings and furniture to the wealthy elite. Stores were fitted with long glass windows which allowed the emerging middle-classes to window shop and indulge in fantasies. Thus, the Palais-Royal became one of the first of the new style of shopping arcades and became a popular venue for the wealthy to congregate, socialise and enjoy their leisure time. The redesigned palace complex became one of the most important marketplaces in Paris. It was frequented by the aristocracy, the middle classes, and the lower orders. It had a reputation as being a site of sophisticated conversation (revolving around the salons, cafés, and bookshops), shameless debauchery (it was a favorite haunt of local prostitutes), as well as a hotbed of Freemasonic activity.
Inspired by the souks of Arabia, the Galerie de Bois, a series of wooden shops linking the ends of the Palais Royal, was first opened in 1786. For Parisians, who lived in the virtual absence of pavements, the streets were dangerous and dirty; the arcade was a welcome addition to the streetscape as it afforded a safe place where Parisians could window shop and socialise. Thus, the Palais-Royal began what architectural historian Bertrand Lemoine describes as l’Ère des passages couverts (the Arcade Era), which transformed European shopping habits between 1786 and 1935.
Designed to attract the genteel middle class, the Palais-Royal sold luxury goods at relatively high prices. However, prices were never a deterrent, as these new arcades came to be the place to shop and to be seen. Arcades offered shoppers the promise of an enclosed space away from the chaos that characterised the noisy, dirty streets; a warm, dry space away from the elements; and a safe-haven where people could socialise and spend their leisure time. Promenading in the arcades became a popular eighteenth century pastime for the emerging middle classes.
Palais de l'Égalité and the RevolutionEdit
During the revolutionary period, Philippe d'Orléans became known as Philippe Égalité and ruled at the Palais de l'Égalité, as it was known during the more radical phase of the Revolution, made himself popular in Paris when he opened the gardens of the palace to all Parisians and employed the neoclassical architect Victor Louis to rebuild the structures around the palace gardens, which had been the irregular backs of houses that faced the surrounding streets, and to enclose the gardens with regular colonnades that were lined with smart shops (in one of which Charlotte Corday bought the knife she used to stab Jean-Paul Marat).
Along the galeries, ladies of the night lingered, and smart gambling casinos were lodged in second-floor quarters. There was a theatre at each end of the galleries; the larger one has been the seat of the Comédie-Française, the state theatre company, since Napoleon laid its administrative reorganisation in the décret de Moscou on 15 October 1812, which contains 87 articles. The very first theatre in the Palais-Royal was built by Lemercier for Cardinal Richelieu, and inaugurated in 1641. Under Louis XIV, the theater hosted plays by Molière, from 1660 to Molière's death in 1673, followed by the Opera under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Lully.
From the 1780s to 1837, the palace was once again the centre of Parisian political and social intrigue and the site of the most popular cafés. The historic restaurant "Le Grand Véfour" is still there. In 1786, a noon cannon was set up by a philosophical amateur, set on the prime meridian of Paris, in which the sun's noon rays, passing through a lens, lit the cannon's fuse. The noon cannon is still fired at the Palais-Royal, though most of the ladies for sale have disappeared, those who inspired the Abbé Delille's lines;
- "Dans ce jardin on ne rencontre
- Ni champs, ni prés, ni bois, ni fleurs.
- Et si l'on y dérègle ses mœurs,
- Au moins on y règle sa montre."
("In this garden one encounters neither fields, nor meadows, nor woods, nor flowers. And, if one upsets one's morality, at least one may re-set one's watch.")
Upon the death of the Duke, the palace's ownership lapsed to the state, whence it was called Palais du Tribunat.
After the Restoration of the Bourbons, at the Palais-Royal the young Alexandre Dumas obtained employment in the office of the powerful duc d'Orléans, who regained control of the Palace during the Restoration.
The duke had Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine draw up plans to complete work left unfinished by the duke's father. Fontaine's most significant work included the western wing of the Cour d'Honneur, the Aile Montpensier, and with Charles Percier, what was probably the most famous of Paris's covered arcades, the Galerie d'Orléans, enclosing the Cour d'Honneur on its north side. Both were completed in 1830. The Galerie d'Orléans was demolished in the 1930s, but its flanking rows of columns still stand between the Cour d'Honneur and the Palais-Royal Garden.
In the Revolution of 1848, the Paris mob trashed and looted the Palais-Royal. Under the Second Empire the Palais-Royal was home to the cadet branch of the Bonaparte family, represented by Prince Napoleon, Napoleon III's cousin.
Today the Palais-Royal accommodates the Conseil d'État, the Constitutional Council, and the Ministry of Culture. At the rear of the garden, north of the Palais-Royal on the Rue de Richelieu are the older buildings of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
- Horne, Alistair (2004). La Belle France. USA: Vintage. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-4000-3487-1. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
...between 1633 and 1639, Richelieu built a princely palace... which he bequeathed to the King. Known initially as the Palais-Cardinal, when the royal family moved in after Richelieu's death it gained the name it has held ever since, – Le Palais-Royal.
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
He (Lemercier) began the Palais-Cardinal at Paris in 1629, which, after its donation to the king, was known as the Palais Royal..
- Rostaing 2001, p. 72.
- Parmele, Mary Platt (1906). A Short History of France. New York: C. Scribner's sons. pp. 142–143.
- Lair 1908, pp. 131–134.
- Brother to the Sun king:Philippe, Duke of Orléans by Nancy Nicholas Barker
- Barker 1989, p. 168; Brice 1687, pp. 33–39 ("The Palais Brion").
- Hazlehurst (1980). Gardens of Illusion, p. 189.
- The Sun King by The Hon. Nancy Freeman-Mitford
- Rudeck 2010.
- Nancy Nicholas Barker, Brother to the Sun King:Philippe, Duke of Orléans.
- Elaine Evans Dee (1996). "Oppenord", vol. 23, p. 457, in The Dictionary of Art.
- "Le Palais-Royal des Orléans (1692-1793): Les travaux entrepris par le Régent". Archived from the original on July 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-30.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- Grammaire des jardins parisiens, 2007, p. 71.
- Ayers 2004, p. 47.
- Ayers 2004, pp. 47–48.
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- Pitou 1983, vol. 1, pp. 13, 26–30; Ayers 2004, pp. 47–48.
- Hemmings 1994, p. 37; Wild 2003; for the opening date see the entry "Beaujolais (théâtre des)" in Lecomte 1905, p. 15.
- Wild 2003; Ayers 2004, pp. 47–48; see also the first entry for "Variétés (théâtre des)" in Lecomte 1905, p. 55, and the entry "Palais-Royal (2e théâtre du)" on p 47.
- Netter 1996, pp. 69–70; Hemmings 1994, pp. 60–63; see also the entry "Variétés-Amusantes" in Lecomte 1905, p. 55, and the entry "Français de la rue Richelieu" on p. 29..
- Ayers 2004, p. 48.
- Mitchell, I., Tradition and Innovation in English Retailing, 1700 to 1850, Routledge, Oxon, p. 140
- Byrne-Paquet, L., The Urge to Splurge: A Social History of Shopping, ECW Press, Toronto, Canada, pp 90-93
- Conlin, J., Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City, Atlantic Books, 2013, Chapter 2; Willsher, K., "Paris's Galeries de Bois, Prototype of the Modern Shopping Centre," [A history of cities in 50 buildings, day 6], 30 March, 2015
- Lemoine, B., Les Passages Couverts, Paris: Délégation à l'action artistique de la ville de Paris [AAVP], 1990. ISBN 9782905118219.
- Byrne-Paquet, L., The Urge to Splurge: A Social History of Shopping, ECW Press, Toronto, Canada, pp. 90–93; Mitchell, I., Tradition and Innovation in English Retailing, 1700 to 1850, Routledge, Oxon, p. 140
- Segard; Testard (1814). Picturesque Views of Public Edifices in Paris, p. 9. London: Gale, Curtis, and Fenner. View at Google Books.
- Bouchard, Alfred (1878). La langue théâtrale: vocabulaire historique, descriptif et anecdotique des termes et des choses du théâtre, p. 83 (in French). Paris: Arnaud et Labat. View at Google Books.
- Ayers 2004, p. 49.
- Typhenn Le Guyader, "Invitation aux recontres dans La Figure du Baiser de Nathalie Pernette", ResMusica, 19 May 2017.
- Ayers, Andrew (2004). The Architecture of Paris. Stuttgart: Axel Menges. ISBN 9783930698967.
- Barker, Nancy Nichols (1989). Brother to the Sund King: Philippe, Duke of Orléans. Baltimore; London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 9780801837913.
- Brice, Germain (1687). A New Description of Paris.... Translated out of French. London: Henry Bonwicke. Copy at Google Books.
- Clarke, Jan (1998). The Guénégaud Theatre in Paris (1673–1680). Volume One: Founding, Design and Production. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 9780773483927.
- Fauquet, Joël-Marie, editor (2001). Dictionnaire de la musique en France au XIXe siècle. Paris: Fayard. ISBN 9782213593166.
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- Kennedy, Emmet; Netter, Marie-Laurence; McGregor, James P.; Olsen, Mark V. (1996). Theatre, Opera, and Audiences in Revolutionary Paris. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-28960-6.
- Lair, Jules (1908). Louise de La Vallière and the Early Life of Louis XIV, translated from the fourth French edition by Ethel Colburn Mayne. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Copy at Internet Archive.
- Lecomte, Louis-Henry (1905). Histoire des théâtres 1402–1904. Notice préliminaire. Paris: Daragon. View at Google Books.
- Netter, Marie-Laurence (1996). "Theatres and Their Directors" in Kennedy et al. 1996, pp. 65–73.
- Pitou, Spire (1983–1990). The Paris Opéra: An Encyclopedia of Operas, Ballets, Composers, and Performers (3 volumes). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-686-46036-7.
- Rostaing, Aurélia (2001). "Pierre II Desgots (1630–1688) et Claude Desgots (v. 1658 – 1732)", pp. 72–75, in Créaturs de jardins et de paysages en France de la Renaissance au XXIe siècle. Tome I: de la Renaissance au début du XIXe siècle, under the direction of Michel Racine. École nationale supérieure du paysage. ISBN 2742732802.
- Rudeck, Claudia (2010). "Aile de la galerie du Palais-Royal", pp. 417–420, in Jules Hardouin-Mansart 1646–1708, edited by Alexandre Gady. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme. ISBN 9782735111879.
- Wild, Nicole (2003). "Palais-Royal, Théâtre du" in Fauquet 2003, p. 932.
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