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The Palais Royal is indubitably one of the most picturesque and photogenic gardens in Paris. Not only does the palatial 17th-century courtyard fill with flowers come spring — it’s one of my top spots in town for seeing cherry blossoms — but it’s also dotted with those oh-so Parisian green metal chairs inviting you to stop and have lunch or to sit and read a book.
Elegant arcades enclose the courtyard, offering a shady place to stroll while admiring the tree-lined alleys, fountains, and flowering squares. Next to the garden, surrounded by some of Paris’s prettiest buildings built by Cardinal Richelieu back in 1628, lie “Les colonnes de Buren.”
If you follow any Paris Instagram account, you’ve surely seen images of these black-and-white striped columns popping up from the courtyard of the Palais Royal. This art installation, officially entitled Les Deux Plateaux, consists of 260 columns of varying heights, some extending above your head while others are just right for hopping onto and posing for pictures.
Made of black and white marble, the vertically-striped columns actually start beneath the courtyard in what was once an underground parking garage. The installation by artist Daniel Buren, was hugely controversial when revealed in the mid-1980s, but today it’s impossible to imagine the historic spot without this modern art piece.
Sip a coffee on the terrace of Café Kitsuné or Le Nemours before or after your amble through the gardens, or if you have tickets to a show at the Comédie Française, come early to take a quick stroll as the courtyard is just behind the theater.