Château de la Madeleine was originally built in 1129 by St. Adjutor (the patron saint of the river sailors, who died in 1131) and it was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. There is only one wall left to the west of the property. In 1407 a monk named Jean le Vigneron probably built a new castle and priory to the same site. The priory called 'priory of La Madeleine' remained church property until 1789, when it was confiscated. The property was purchased by an officer of the Empire, General de Bremont, married to a Pomeranian princess.
Casimir de la Vigne, a great 19th century century poet and playwright, then becomes the owner of the house. In 1849, the wealthy Baron Thenard, inventor of hydrogen peroxide, purchased the property, but died three years later, without having had time to start the renovations. His widow and daughter, having traveled throughout Europe, launched out into considerable works to give the castle its present appearance, combining baroque and rococo elements.
The Thénard family retained ownership until the early twentieth century. In 1924, the furnishings of the Castle were put up for auction and the castle was sold to M. Gianotti, architect of the Maginot Line. The latter added his personal touch to the Madeleine by building the far right wing of the castle, rightfully called 'the bunker', and his wife obtained the listing of the park with its 120 rare essences.
During World War II, the property was used as a school, a summer camp, but also as a resting place for the German Kriegsmarine. In 1945, when the Allied troops crossed the Seine at Vernon, the castle park was the scene of heavy fighting, in which seven Englishmen were killed.
After the war, the property was bought up by M. Lebrejal who restored the chapel. In 1960, the Lebrejals resold it to the Drouot firm who wanted to make a nursing home and a housing development in the woods. But as the site is classified, this housing estate project was banned, and la Madeleine was left in neglect.
In 1980 the Clermont couple fell in love with the place and acquired it. On her death in 1989, Claude-Marie was buried in the park and her husband Jean-Pierre continued the adventure. In March 2000, the castle became the property of his sons Paul Stephane and Olivier who have been restoring it since then.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.