Opposite the legendary Louvre Museum is an understated historic gem, the Palais Royal. This historic monument has been standing since the 17th century where its significance has evolved through time all the way from a royal residence to its current state as an anchor in different aspects in the 1st arrondissement of the city: shopping, culture, and entertainment. This article is INSIDR’s guide on the secret gems of Palais Royal’s surroundings. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll realize how there is so much to do and see in this neighborhood—sightseeing, tailor-made shopping experiences, eating out and more.
Sightseeing in Palais-Royal
Jardin du Palais-Royal
Pre-dating the French revolution, the Palais Royal is a refreshing escape from the bustle of the city and a ‘petite’ but wonderful immersion in the history of France (this is the same garden that King Louis XIV played in as a child). It is filled with congruent architecture and landscapes flanked by the straight lines of lime trees. Of course, we can’t forget the very famous work by Daniel Buren, Les Deaux Plateaux. Travellers from all over the world can’t help but stop to take photos at the famous columns.
- Address: 2 Galerie de Montpensier, 75001
- Access: Line 1 – Palais Royal Museé du Louvre
Historic covered shopping arcades
Built in the 19th century, the covered arcades of Paris are historic monuments that transports you to the lifestyle of the Belle époque era in Paris. These mazes of hidden glass covered passages, are filled with beautiful stores, restaurants and cafes and are not worth missing. Some of the Palais Royal arcades include the beautiful Galeries Vivienne with its exquisite mosaics and ornate architecture, the Galerie Vero-Dodat housing prominent brands such as BY TERRY and Christian Louboutin, and the Galerie de Montpensier that houses one of the oldest French watchmaking marques, Charles Oudin. The arcades are accessible by metro station Palais Royal Museé du Louvre.
The Colette public square, named after legendary writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, is a lovely place to end up on a Parisian stroll. It has a bustling atmosphere of coffee shops and art with the historic Comédie Française theatre (house of Molière) right on it, which was restored in 2013. You can book guided visits in advance and get tickets to the shows at affordable prices (last minute seats cost 50% less). On weekends, you can enjoy classical music by a group of Parisian buskers. The Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro entrance, designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel in 2000 is one of the most unique ones in all of Paris and it is also known as kiosque noctambules.
Shopping in Palais Royal
Get your own custom makeup at BY TERRY
Just a stone’s throw away from the Palais Royal is the historic Galerie Véro-Dodat shopping arcade. The very first of its boutiques to draw attention is BY TERRY’s. BY TERRY is a renowned premium skincare and makeup brand that carries well-known products that deliver the promise of imperceptible foundation, impeccable lips and thick, separated lashes. It’s a one-stop store for makeup and skin care consultations which begins with a chromatic measurement where an expert finds your unique skin tone and type which will then be used to make unique products for you.
One of the best things about the BY TERRY store is their Palette Factory where you yourself can imagine, create and press your own bespoke palette. With more than 5,000 possible combinations you can create your complexion powders, blushers, bronzers, highlighters and eyeshadows, your creativity has no limit! The shopping experience is one of the most exciting yet relaxing ones because of the ambience of the boutique itself which is on the quieter side of the 1st arrondissement.
Don’t miss your chance to visit their shop on your next trip to Paris! Not only will you have discovered a truly Parisian gem but also be able to come home with a unique souvenir made just for you.
INSIDR Tip: INSIDR travellers can receive a free beauty kit of travel size BY TERRY best sellers when you purchase a Palette Factory mono or any 2 products. Get your voucher here.
- Address: 36 Galerie Véro-Dodat, 75001
- Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm
Buy unique apparel at Margiela
The Maison Martin Margiela is a renowned French luxury fashion brand established in 1988. This label is known for its avant-garde designs and use of eccentric materials such as broken plates and tarpaulins. If you are looking for tastefully alternative designs in apparels, shoes, bags and accessories for men and women, its boutique at the Palais Royal has the reputation of having an extremely friendly and welcoming customer service, conducive for the ultimate luxury shopping experience.
- Address: 26 Rue de Richelieu, 75001
- Access: Line 1 / 7 – Palais Royal Museé du Louvre
- Open from 11am to 7pm Monday to Saturday
Go vintage shopping at La Marelle
For female fashion enthusiasts, there is no greater feeling than finding an excellent clothing shop in the world’s fashion capital. La Marelle is an excellent find because it carries several respected luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and even Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank! Parisians love this store because they carry truly one-of vintage pieces at reasonable prices.
- Address: 5 Galerie Vivienne, 75002
- Access: Line 1 – Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre; Line 3 – Bourse
- Open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Saturday.
Eating in Palais-Royal
Weekend brunch: Claus Palais-Royal
To quote one of the most recent reviews of Claus, “All the servers were so nice, price was reasonable, and the food was to die for!” This general sentiment echoes throughout the rest of the 500-something reviews. Claus Palais-Royal is an excellent brunch restaurant for the perfect time out with friends and loved ones. We recommend ordering their famous French Toast and don’t miss out on their coffee either!
- Address: 14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
- Access: Line 1 – Palais Royal-Museée du Louvre
- Open from 8am-5pm on weekdays; from 9:30am to 5pm on weekends
Japanese food: Kunitoraya
While many of Paris’ ethnic neighborhoods are often located away from the city center, did you know that there’s a small Japanese quarter just behind Palais Royal? Kunitoraya is one of the many amazing Japanese restaurants whose claim to fame are their udon noodles. This Palais Royal restaurant gives you an authentic Japanese dining experience. It incorporates a mixture of modern and traditional décor, with exquisite mirrored walls and brown wooden communal-style tables. It serves generous and delicious helpings of traditional Japanese food, delivered with a polite and professional service.
- Address: 5 Rue Villédo, 75001
- Access: Line 7 / 14 – Pyramides
- Open from 12:30pm to 4:30pm and 7pm to 10:30 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Fine dining: Restaurant Kei
Chef Kei Kobayashi is touted as one of the most outstanding disciples of renowned chefs like Alain Ducasse. At his own restaurant in the 1st arrondissement, the chef serves his own brand of flavorful yet delicate French fine dining. For a 2-Michelin star meal, expect to spend around 90€ per person which by many means is a pretty great deal especially in Paris. But if you’re going all out on your spending, enjoy Kei’s tasting menu for 150€.
For a vegetarian meal that will leave you stunned, we recommend Verjus. And if you’re looking for an elevated dimsum experience, you can’t go wrong with Yam’Tcha. Advance reservations to all these restaurants are strongly advised.
- Address: 5 Rue Coq Héron, 75001
- Access: Line 1 – Palais Royal-Museée du Louvre
- Open from 12:30pm for lunch and from7:45pm for dinner Tuesday to Saturday