Fodor's Expert Review Palais-Royal
This truly Parisian garden is enclosed within the former home of Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642). The 400-year-old arcades now house boutiques and one of the city's oldest restaurants, the haute-cuisine Le Grand Véfour, where brass plaques recall former regulars like Napoléon and Victor Hugo. Built in 1629, the palais became royal when Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis XIII. Other famous residents include Jean Cocteau and Colette, who wrote of her pleasurable "country" view of the province à Paris. It was also here, two days before the Bastille was stormed in 1789, that Camille Desmoulins gave an impassioned speech sowing the seeds of Revolution. Today, the garden often hosts giant temporary art installations sponsored by another tenant, the Ministry of Culture. The courtyard off Place Colette is outfitted with an eye-catching collection of squat black-and-white columns created in 1986 by artist Daniel Buren.