This is a guest post by Nicolas Boring who has previously written for the blog on a variety of topics including FALQs: Freedom of Speech in France, How Sunday Came to be a Day of Rest in France, Napoleon Bonaparte and Mining Rights in France, French Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights, and co-collaborated on the post, Does the Haitian Criminal Code Outlaw Making Zombies.
Last May, I shared some pictures of Paris’ Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice), which I took during a short vacation in France last winter. In a long-overdue follow-up to that blog post, I will now share pictures of the Palais-Royal (literally: Royal Palace) which I took during that same trip.
The Palais-Royal is among France’s most significant judicial buildings. Indeed, it is the site of both the Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) and the Conseil Constitutionnel (Constitutional Council). The Conseil d’Etat is France’s ultimate appellate jurisdiction for matters of administrative law, and also serves as an advisory body for the French government. The Conseil Constitutionnel is a court specifically set up to review the constitutionality of legislation, and is the only judicial body with the authority to invalidate a law as unconstitutional. In addition, the main office of the Ministry of Culture is located in the Palais-Royal, as are a famous theater, and a number of shops, restaurants, and cafés.
Situated just one block from the Louvre, the Palais-Royal has a rich history of its own. Before becoming a royal palace, it was the residence of Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s famous advisor whom novelist Alexandre Dumas later cast as the main villain in The Three Musketeers. The Palais-Royal subsequently became a royal possession under Louis XIV, and then was the home of the Dukes of Orléans (the hereditary title for the king’s oldest brother).
The French Revolution of 1789 saw the Duke of Orléans open the gardens of the Palais-Royal to the public, and construct the surrounding colonnade as a space for shops and cafés. The following decades were not kind to the palace, however: it was ransacked during the 1848 Revolution, and burned down during the 1871 Paris Commune. After the Commune was put down, the Palais-Royal was rebuilt and the Conseil d’Etat was moved onto its premises. The Conseil Constitutionnel was also installed there upon its creation in 1958.