Just in front of the Louvre Palace and museum, on the opposite side of the square, the “Palais Royal” is nowadays the seat of the Council of State, which is part of French government, giving legal advice to the executive and being also a supreme court for administrative justice.
Behind this monument front are the public “Palais Royal Gardens”. It is a large rectangular place planted with trees, surrounded with classical buildings and arcades.
North and South entries have columns. On south entrance, twenty years ago, the installation of Daniel Buren‘s striped columns, a work specially designed for the place, rose a passionate debate which is not yet over. People who hated it in the first place are still mad.
I always liked these, for I think that there playful qualities of brand new ruins and informal seats match quite well with the solemn charm of the place.
You enter by place André Malraux, next to the “Comédie française”( National French Theater). In the middle of the square, the subway entrance (Palais-Royal) has been made in 2000. It looks like a permanent Christmas ornament. It is actually a colorful tribute to Hector Guimard who designed the historical look of Paris Metro.
For a virtual tour of Palais Royal gardens, go to : http://www.photo360.net/xxl/04/01.htm
See the original “art nouveau” subway entrance by Hector Guimard located place du Palais Royal on : http://lartnouveau.com/artistes/guimard/metro/metro_palais_royal.htm
If you’re interested in Daniel Buren’s work, visit his site : http://www.danielburen.com/