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So you’re heading to the Palais Royal and its beautiful enclosed garden. Instead of entering the precinct via the usual way, here is another route that’s worth trying.

Today I’m bringing you to the secretive Place de Valois in the first arrondissement of Paris.

 

From the Place du Palais-Royal

You will need to walk a little bit more to reach the Place de Valois.

From the Place du Palais-Royal (between the Louvre and the Palais-Royal, métro lines 1 and 7), walk to the right on rue Saint-Honoré.

Then turn left on rue des Bons Enfants. This is not, particularly a nice and interesting street.

Keep on walking 70 metres or so and access the covered passage to the left (number 15-17 rue des Bons Enfants). You have reached your destination!

 

Passage Vérité

Passage Vérité © French Moments
Passage Vérité © French Moments

The curious covered passage you are in is quite short. It is called ‘Passage Vérité’ and dates back to 1750. It gives access to the Place de Valois. In the past, the passage housed booksellers and prints merchants.

Today it offers a beautiful view of the Constant d’Ivry Pavillon of the Palais-Royal.

 

Place de Valois

Place de Valois
Place de Valois © French Moments

Now you are in the square. Cars have been recently banned and the square now forms a beautiful and peaceful site that not many tourists know of. I particularly like it in the morning on a sunny day.

Place de Valois was opened to the public in 1790 on the site of the former offices of the Palais-Royal.

The square was originally known as the Cour des Fontaines (Fountains’ court) because of the fountains that were placed there to ensure the serving of the Palais-Royal’s receptions. It took the name of Place de Valois from the adjacent rue de Valois.

 

Who was Louis Philippe I, the last King of the French?

Valois refers to Louis Philippe I (6 October 1773 – 26 August 1850) who was the last King of the French from 1830 to 1848.

Louis Philippe I in 1838. Painting by Louise Adelaïde Desnos
Louis Philippe I in 1838. Painting by Louise Adelaïde Desnos

He was born in the Palais Royal, then the residence of the Orléans family in Paris, son of Louis Philippe, Duke of Chartres, and Louise Marie Adelaïde de Bourbon.

After a long exile between 1793 and 1815 during when he travelled to Switzerland, Scandinavia and the United States, he came back to France at the time of the Bourbon Restoration.

In 1830, the July Revolution overthrew Charles X and Louis-Philippe was sworn in as Louis-Philippe I, King of the French.

However, his popularity faded as economic conditions in France deteriorated in 1847. He was forced to abdicate after the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1848. Louis-Philippe emigrated to Claremont in England where he died on 26 August 1850.

 

More info about the square

In the past, the square was frequented by street performers.

Palais-Royal
The Pavillon Constant d’Ivry of the Palais-Royal © French Moments

The little square is bordered by an inviting restaurant and the luxurious Grand Hotel du Palais-Royal. It opens onto the elegant classical façade of the Constant d’Ivry Pavillon, the East Wing of the Palais Royal occupied by the Ministry of Culture and Communication.

Palais-Royal
Details of the Pavillon Constant d’Ivry, Palais-Royal © French Moments

 

Place de Valois to the Palais-Royal

Access the Palais-Royal through the covered passage under the Constant d’Ivry Pavillon. You will reach the Cour d’honneur of the palace, the inner courtyard that hosts Buren’s columns (1985).

Palais-Royal
Cour d’honneur of the Palais Royal © French Moments

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Find out more about Place de Valois on Wikipedia (in French)

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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