One of my favorite places in Paris is the Palais Royal. When you step into the gardens and look at all the apartments surrounding you, you can imagine the grand 16th,17th, and 18th century parties, the gambling disputes, and the ladies of the night strolling in the galeries. There is so much history inside these arcades-- it just feels full of secrets! Louis Philippe opened it to the public in 1780 as a shopping and entertainment complex that housed 145 boutiques, cafés, salons and bookshops-- it became the most prestigious Parisian gathering place. On occasion, classical music floats down from one of the apartment windows and into the gardens-- its easy then to imagine the glamorous scenes from the 18th century court gatherings. Today, the Palais Royal consists of private apartments, restaurants, theatres and shops. The perfectly manicured gardens run down the center of two long arcades; the Galerie de Montpensier and the Galerie de Valois. It is here that you find unique shopping and dining. There is no need to rush to arrive early as most shops don't open until about 11:00am. I usually stroll across the river from the Left Bank to the gardens ( the Palais Royal is located on the Right Bank in the 1st Arrondisement) and take in the sights from the bridge along the way. I pass through the arcades of the Louvre and then down the rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A wonderful short cut through the Galerie Vero Dodat is a must! You'll see the original boutique of Christian Louboutin and the gorgeous cosmetics of By Terry. When I finally enter the Palais Royal, I remember my own history there-- I can still see Camille playing with delight in the sandbox at the end of the gardens. Less happy were the tears that were shed when a little French boy threw sand in her face... Thankfully, the charming toy store , The Boutique de Palais Royal was close by to offer the perfect distraction! The many lunches shared with friends, sun-soaked moments in the gardens, and the fabulous people watching over the years makes this one of my all-time sentimental favorites in this great City! I hope you'll take the time to stroll the galleries, have lunch and sit in the sun on your next trip here. Below, are some of my favorite places to eat and shop while in the Palais Royal. Enjoy!
Garden seating, I order the asiette Villalys and a glass of Morgon wine
30 Galerie de Montpensier
Just outside the Palais Royal--lovely terrasse, Whatever the plat du jour is, is what I order!
1 Place Valois
Serges Lutens Perfumes:
Incredible sensory experience!
142 Galerie de Valois
Swedish Fashion Design House
124 Galerie de Valois
One of the last handmade French shoe artisans--classic. Their gloves are their best secret!
15 Galerie de Valois
Didier Ludot and Gabrielle Geppert:
The reputable dealers for vintage Chanel and Hermes
24 Galerie de Montpensier and 31 Galerie de Montpensier respectively
Galerie d'Art Joyce:
Always provocative art and fashion
168 Galerie de Valois
Medals, coins and antique heraldry
7 Galerie de Montpensier