Palais Bourbon

Paris, France | C.1722

Photo Credit: Sébastien Melesan

The Palais Bourbon is a government building located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris which serves as the meeting place of the French National Assembly, a legislative body of the French government. A multi-functional building today, this palace played an important role in France’s divisive political history.

Originally built in 1722 by Duchess Louise-Francoise de Bourbon, the daughter of Louis XIV, this country house and its elaborate gardens were nationalized during the French Revolution. While many royal properties were sold off along with their furniture to fund the new government, the Palais Bourbon would function as the meeting place of the Council of Five Hundred, a legislative body of revolutionaries who would chose France’s new leaders.

The meeting chamber – depicted here – retains the same appearance and arrangement that it exhibited in 1832. An elongated arm chair at the back of the highest row of the chamber was designed by Jacques-Louis David for the Council of Five Hundred, and today seats the president of the French National Assembly, with 577 additional deputies in the remaining seats.

These elected officials serve five-year terms and take part in legislative sessions between October and June. The president of the assembly has a personal residence in the building today, which also houses the Hotel de Lassay.

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