The Church of Saint-Roch is a late Baroque church built between 1653 and 1740. In 1521, the tradesman Jean Dinocheau had a chapel built on the outskirts of Paris, which he dedicated to Saint Susanna. In 1577, his nephew Etienne Dinocheau had it extended into a larger church. In 1629, it became the parish church and thereafter underwent further work. The first stone of the church of Saint-Roch was laid by Louis XIV in 1653, accompanied by his mother Anne of Austria. Originally designed by Jacques Lemercier, the building's construction was halted in 1660 and was resumed in 1701 under the direction of architect Jacques Hardouin-Mansart, brother of the better-known Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Work was finally completed in 1754.
At the time of the French Revolution, the church of Saint-Roch was often at the centre of events and was the scene of many shootings which have left their mark on the façade. 13 Vendémiaire was one such occasion, this was pivotal in the rise of Napoleon. It was not only the outside of the church that was damaged. During the Revolution it was ransacked, and many works of art were stolen or destroyed. Amongst the missing paintings was one of Dinocheau, a generous donor, who built the first church on this spot.
The church is organized as a series of chapels. One of them is dedicated to Saint Susanna in memory of the church which used to stand in its place. Accordingly, there is a mural painting above the altar, showing Saint Susanna fleeing her attackers, and looking up to the heavens for the help of God. The church is also notable as a result of the marriage there of the Marquis de Sade on May 17, 1763.
Notable tombs in the church included those of Denis Diderot, the Baron d'Holbach, Henri de Lorraine-Harcourt, Pierre Corneille, André le Nôtre, Marie Anne de Bourbon (daughter of Louis XIV) and Marie-Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin.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.