The Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss) was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrich Wilhelm IV from 1851 to 1864. The architects Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse designed it in the style of the Italian Renaissance, after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence.
The middle building with its twin towers is the actual castle. This building is joined to the 103 meter long and 16 meter wide Plant Hall, with its almost ceiling-to-floor windows on the south side. In the western hall, the original floor duct heating system is still present and functioning. In the alcoves along the garden side of the castle annex, there are allegorical figures of the months and seasons. In the corner building at the end of the Orangery Hall were the royal apartments and the servants' quarters.
In front of the peristyle Elizabeth, Friedrich Wilhelm IV's wife, had a statue of the king erected in Memoriam after his death in 1861.
Behind the portico, in the middle building, lies the over two-story-tall Raffael Hall. It was based on the Sala Regia in the Vatican. Over a large skylight in the high clouded ceiling, light falls into the Museum Hall. On the red silk covered walls, hang over fifty copies of Renaissance paintings. Friedrich Wilhelm IV inherited the images from his father, Friedrich Wilhelm III, and brought them here together.
The royal apartments were outfitted in the second Rococo style, connected to both sides of the Raffael Hall. They were intended as guest rooms for Tsar Nicholas I and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. The Tsarina was the favorite sister of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Charlotte, who gave up her name along with her homeland when she married.
The gardens were styled after those of the Italian Renaissance by the garden architect, Peter Joseph Lenné. In the west, below the annex, he designed the Paradise Garden in 1843/1844. In it are many exotic flowers and foliage plants. The atrium, a small building in middle of the compound, designed in the ancient style, was built on plans by Ludwig Persius in 1845. The current Botanical Garden, with its systematically arranged planting, is used by the University of Potsdam as a teaching garden.
The Norse and Sicilian Gardens lie to the east. These completely different garden sections were laid out by Lenné between 1857 and 1860. The dark, effective Norse Garden, with its pines, was to have been an element of the planned triumph street. The Sicilian Garden, with its palm tubs, myrtles, laurels, flowers, arcades, and fountains, runs jovially southward.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.