St. Martin’s Chapel stands above an old mountain pass that may have even existed in the La Tène period (5th–1st centuries B.C.). If that was the case, the chapel represents a link between Celtic and early Christian culture in this region. Archaeological excavations in 1958 showed that, on the site of the present chapel, there was a religious building as early as the time around 800 A.D. perhaps a heathen spring shrine. The same investigations uncovered a basin that, if this was in fact a religious building, could have been a font.
From the exposed foundations, the appearance of this first building was able to be reconstructed. It consisted of a sacred space, 4.20 by 4.20 metres in area, and an attached baptismal room with two windows. According to the report of the 1958 restoration, this layout is similar to that of St. Wendelin’s Chapel (600 A.D.) in Cazis in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
In historical documents, the elevation of a forest chapel to the status of a church by the abbey of St. Margaret is recorded in 915, but it is not clear if that refers to this earliest building. It could also refer to a chapel, recorded in a papal bull of 1178 by Pope Alexander III, that was erected on a high mountain by the municipality of Furtwangen.
In the Middle Ages a new chapel was built using the old foundations and possibly parts of the outer walls. This probably dates to the Late Gothic period. After the chapel had been partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War, a new roof and a new ceiling were built. The centre part of this has survived and bears the date 1672.
In the chapel there are other dates, some of which, thanks to the restoration work (Haas 1997) have been able to be correctly attributed: the retable dates to the year 1705, and the date of 1905 above the door lintel indicates the restoration measures of that time. The date of 1460 that was painted on the retable until the 1995-97 restoration was classified as incorrect.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, the chapel has been owned by the Kolmen farm. However, in 1848 it was converted into a utility building: extensions and alterations were made so that it had a stable, hayloft, shed, toilet and celler. Even the tower was replaced by a chimney.
The appearance of the present chapel dates back to an account that, in 1900, the Kolmenhof farmer made a vow that he would honour God and reinstate the former chapel as a place of worship if God would free him and his family from economic hardship. He appears to have been heard because, in 1905-06, the chapel was largely returned to its original state, a turret being replaced in its original position. In 1906 the chapel was rededicated.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.