I am in Paris and wondering about visiting the Jardin du Palais Royal and Jardin des Halles. Any recommendations?
The Jardin du Palais Royal, if it's what I'm thinking of, is basically a big grassy square with amazingly manicured trees around the edge and picturesque by uncomfortable benches to sit on. It's in the heart of the Right Bank, close to the Louvre and other places you'll be, and well worth a walk through on your way somewhere, but not really a destination in its own right. I don't know about a Jardin des Halles. Les Halles is a big pedestrian complex, mostly shopping, where the city's main food markets used to be before the city got so big and crowded that a central location no longer made sense. I didn't find that area very interesting, except maybe the St-Eustache church, but again it's on the way to and from a lot of other places. You might easily visit both areas on an hour's walk between, say, the Pompidou Center and the Place de la Concorde, or many other "big" destinations. Does that help?
There are a few things in or near the Jardin du Palais Royal that I enjoyed. The entrance to the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre Metro station is topped by a fanciful, colorful sculpture in the shape of two crowns. There are a couple hundred black and white truncated columns of various sizes that children who come there love to climb on and try to get to the top of the tallest one. There's a large mirrored sculpture set in a raised pool of water. The sculpture reflects everything that passes by, and it's an interesting photography stop - at a good angle you can capture yourself as you take a photo of the sculpture. Also the long rectangular park, while very formal, is very peaceful and relatively quiet. There's a large fountain in the center, and it's a pleasant green space to have a quiet interlude, a chance to rest weary feet before pressing on toward the Louvre in one direction or the Palais Garnier off in the other.
Jardin des Halles is the garden on top of the les Halles shopping centre. It had a horrible reputation for years and is currently being heavily reconstructed. I wouldn't bother.
Thanks, folks, for all the advice. Having a great time over here and just didn't want to miss something that was really special.