Luxembourg Palace

Paris, France | C.1615

Photo Credit: Kurush Umrigar

Designed by French architect Salomon de Brosse, the Luxembourg Palace took thirty years to construct and was created for Marie de Medici, the mother of King Louis XIII. Following the French Revolution, the palace was refashioned into a legislative building and today, continues to serve as the seat of the Senate of the Fifth Republic.

With the passing of Henry IV in 1610, Marie de Medici became regent to Louis XIII. Now in a much more powerful position, Marie decided to build a new palace for herself. She chose a domain next to an old hotel owned by Francois de Luxembourg. The hotel, the Petit Luxembourg, still stands today and is the home of the president of the French Senate.

In 1625, while the interiors were still being installed, Marie moved her household into the Palace. Within twenty years, the Palace would be complete. Calling the magnificent structure her Palais Madicis, Marie filled her home with paintings and artwork that depicted her life. By 1642, Marie bequeathed the Palace to her second oldest – and favorite – son, Gaston, duc d’Orleans.

Over the next century, the Palace would be passed down through the family. In 1750, the Palace became a museum and a predecessor to the Louvre. Following the storming of the Bastille in 1789, France found itself embroiled in its pivotal Revolution. During the ten-year conflict, the Palace was used as a prison, and then became the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, the First Consul of the French Republic.

Presently, the Luxembourg Palace is the seat of the Senate of the Fifth Republic, France’s current system of government which was established by Charles de Gaulle in 1958. As the upper house of French parliament, the Senate represents territory of the French Republic and of French citizens abroad.

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