The Palais Bourbon is the seat of the French National Assembly, the lower legislative chamber of the French government. The palace was originally built for the legitimised daughter of Louis XIV and Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan - Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, duchesse de Bourbon, to a design by the Italian architect Lorenzo Giardini, approved by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Giardini oversaw the actual construction from 1722 until his death in 1724, after which Jacques Gabriel took over, assisted by L'Assurance and other designers, until its completion in 1728.
Rather than a palace, for it was not a royal seat of power, the French termed it a maison de plaisance overlooking the Seine, facing the Tuileries to the east and the developing Champs-Élysées on the west. At the start it was composed of a principal block with simple wings ending in matching pavilions. Bosquets of trees—planted in orderly rank and file—and parterres separated it from the nearby Hôtel de Lassay. In 1756 Louis XV bought it for the Crown, then sold it to the grandson of the Duchess, Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé, for whom Jacques-Germain Soufflot directed an enlargement in 1765.
During the French Revolution the Palais Bourbon was nationalized, and the Council of the Five Hundred met in the palace from 1798. Then, as part of Napoleon's plans for a more monumental Paris, Fontanes, the president of the Corps législatif as it was now called, commissioned the magnificent pedimented portico by architect Bernard Poyet, added to the front of the Palais that faces the Place de la Concorde from the south. It mirrors the similar classicizing portico of the Madeleine, visible at the far end of the rue Royale.
In a symptom of the political tone of the Bourbon Restoration, the returning exile, the prince de Condé took possession, and rented to the Chamber of Deputies a large part of the palace. The palace was bought outright from his heir in 1827, for 5,250,000 francs. The Chamber of Deputies was then able to undertake major work, better suiting the chamber, rearrangement of access corridors and adjoining rooms, installation of the library in a suitable setting, where the decoration and one of the salons were entrusted to Delacroix, later a Deputy himself. The pediment was re-sculpted by French artist Jean-Pierre Cortot.
Delacroix, with the help of some assistants, painted the entire vault of the long gallery which was to house the library. His work there was completed by the end of 1847 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece by the critic.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.