Weikersheim Palace (Schloss Weikersheim) was built in the 12th century, however the exact year is not known. The palace was the traditional seat of the princely family of Hohenlohe. In the 16th century, Count Wolfgang II inherited Weikersheim after a division of estates and made it his main home. He converted the moated castle into a magnificent Renaissance palace, whose splendid rooms have been preserved with their furnishings. Aside from the large chandelier and the Lambris painting added in the 18th century, the banqueting hall remains in its original state. Princess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie's audience room was known as the 'beautiful room' because of its exquisite furnishings.
The baroque interior and palace garden date from 1710. The garden in particular with its axial arrangement and many statues exemplifies the baroque style. A permanent exhibition on the theme of alchemy is on display in the former palace kitchen, enabling visitors to discover more about Count Wolfgang II von Hohenlohe and his alchemy laboratory. The double-winged, arcaded orangery from 1723 has a total length of just under 100 metres and marks the point where the palace garden takes over from the untamed surrounding nature. An elaborate series of sculpted figures adorns the garden at Weikersheim Palace. This 'garden kingdom' includes the four seasons, the four elements and the four winds, the gods of the planets around the Hercules fountain, a number of other classical gods and a 'court' of dwarfs.
The palace has been owned by the state of Baden-Württemberg since 1967 when the palace was bought from the estate of Prince Constantin von Hohenlohe, who had encouraged arts-related activities at the palace. Today the palace is home to the Jeunesses Musicales Germany during the summer and the Weikersheim Think Tank. It is also used for large gatherings and weddings.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.