Palais Bourbon

Paris, France

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.

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Details

Founded: 1722-1728
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in France

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

H. Jung (8 months ago)
Outlook is elegant, but security system is too strict to go into.
Henry Wong (9 months ago)
A picture from boat tour in August 2015
Rany SADER (2 years ago)
Had the chance to access such an emblematic prestigious place. Like many buildings in Paris, it is a stand alone history by its own. I was frankly fascinated by its library. An exceptional experience.
Jeongku Choi (3 years ago)
The palace was built in 1722 for the Duchess of Bourbon, the daughter of Louis XIV. And it was nationalised during the French Revolution. Currently, this is used for House of Representatives and not allowed to visit to public. But you can visit here in european heritage days (journée du patrimoine). There are the chamber hall, library, beautiful garden with fountain and the court with famous statues. You can also buy some souvenirs in the official  shop near the palace.
Davide Danti (4 years ago)
Amazing French building with Roman and Greek style!! ?️???
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