The Ducal Palace of Nancy was built in the 15th century for René II, Duke of Lorraine. In the 18th century the palace was extended by Baroque architects. Under the rule of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine parts of the building were pulled down, in preparation of greater projects, he intended. After the House of Habsburg had ceded Lorraine to French control in exchange for Tuscany, the ducal palace in Nancy became the home of Stanislaw Leszczynski. After Stanislaw's death, his Duchy was inherited by his son-in-law, King Louis XV of France and incorporated in his dominions.
The palace used to have St George's Collegiate Church, which was the house chapel and also the burial place of members of the house of Lorraine. The chapel does not exist anymore. The functions of the house chapel was then given to the Church of Saint-François-des-Cordeliers, which is located next to the palace.
The first level of the structure contains reception and dining rooms used by the Dukes, known as the Galerie des Cerfs. On the ground floor, there is an open-vaulted gallery overlooking the garden, while a portal marks the Grande Rue entrance. Also built in Gothic style, its décor suggests that it is one of the earliest examples of work from the Renaissance period in nowaday's eastern France.
In 1848 the palace was converted to house the Musée Lorrain. The museum's collections include artefacts from the Gallo-Roman and Merovingian civilisations of the east of France, religious and funeral sculptures and stained-glass windows from the Medieval period, as well as armaments from the 14th and 15th centuries. The museum also includes a collection of Renaissance art including works by Ligier Richier and sculptures relating to the history of the Palace itself, as well as of major works by Georges de La Tour and Jacques Callot, and a rare collection of Jewish ritual objects.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.