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. Upon Richelieu’s death in 1642 the palace became the property of the King and acquired the new name Palais-Royal.
After Louis XIII died the following year, it became the home of the Queen Mother Anne of Austria and her young sons Louis XIV and Philippe, duc d’Anjou, along with her advisor Cardinal Mazarin.
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. [SOURCE]
We were very fortunate to start our trip to France during ‘Journées du Patrimoine’ or European Heritage Days a celebration that opens many tourist attractions and typically closed buildings to the public. The Palais-Royal was one of the typically closed buildings that were open for the event and fortunately for us in the backyard of the place we were staying. Unfortunately for us most of what we saw was in French and while I had tried to learn the basics of the language using Duolingo were a little over my reading comprehension level. This was a small obstacle given how amazing the space was and the artwork it contained inside. It was amazing and an incredible stroke of luck that we got to visit.
Want to see more? Check out 360° in the Palais-Royal and explore some of the rooms.