The origins of the castle in Lipowiec, which for centuries belonged to the bishopric of Krakow, go back to the 13th century. It was to act as protection and provide safety for the many buildings on the trade route from Cracow to Silesia. The bishop of Krakow Jan Prandota acquired the Lipowiec stronghold in the year of 1243. Another important bishop, who became the owner of the building was Jan Muskat. Until the end of the 18th century, the castle and the surrounding goods were managed by various lords, representing the bishops of Cracow. In the days of Prandota, the fortress was enlarged and the construction of a brick castle was undertaken. During the reign of Muskat, Lipowiec castle became his claim in a defensive struggle for the throne of 'Wladyslaw the Short.' The bishop Jan Muskat had ambitions to significantly strengthen its power to pursue and strengthen towns and castles belonging to his diocese. However, after Muscat came into conflict with the future king, he was exiled from his diocese, and shelter in the Lipowiec castle.
During the reign of Casimir the Great the Castle in Lipowiec began to function as a border fortress, as well as continuing its defense functions along the mercantile route, which ran at the foot of the castle hill in Lipowiec. In the 14th and 15th century, the castle was rebuilt several times. By the 15th century, it was taking shape close to the present-day appearance of the castle, with a clearly dominant tower over the body of the building. Restlessness at the beginning the 15th century, which abounded in the Hussite wars, favored strengthening the defense of the castle. It was then surrounded by a deep moat with a drawbridge, while the buildings were surrounded by an extra defensive wall. Most developers involved in the construction of the castle during the medieval times in Lipowiec were bishops.
With the growing reformation of the church, the castle in Lipowiec was appointed a prison for priests. Prisoners were usually clerics, according to the church authorities who spread heresies, as well as those who committed common crimes and misdemeanors. The most famous prisoner was one from Italy 'Franciszek Stankar,' who already was in prison, when he began his work on the reform of the Church. The adaptation works started in the 15th century, turning the castle into a prison, gained momentum in the 16th century. In times of peace and political stability, there was no need for additional strengthening of the castle fortifications, therefor it was mainly focused on deepening the role of the prison. The work was commanded by two bishops: John Konarski, and Andrew Zebrzydowski.
The 17th century brought the downfall of the castle. This happened as a result of the damage that the stronghold in Lipowiec encountered during a great fire in the early 17th century and during the Swedish invasion in the middle of the century. Another reason for the loss of the splendor of this castle, was the changing trend in architecture, according to which the castle in Lipowiec was outdated and no longer meet the standards of living residence for bishops.
The castle remained in the state of oblivion until the first half of the 18th century, when bishop Felicjan Szaniawski undertook its reconstruction. In the meantime, the walls of the castle played host to King Jan III Sobieski, who stopped in Lipowiec in 1683, during an expedition to Vienna. At the beginning of the 19th century, the castle passed to the State, and then into private hands. Unfortunately, also during this time a great fire broke out within the castle, which did enormous damage not only inside but also to the roof of the castle. After this tragedy, the castle never returned to the state of its medieval glory.
Mainly ruins of the castle survived until the mid-twentieth century, when the decision was taken to protect this monument. The castle at this time under went partial reconstructions, that were aimed at protecting the already decayed architectural elements from further destruction. The castle is designed to be explored and is listed as a 'historic building in a permanent state of ruin.'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.