Originally, La Tour de Villa castle was comprised almost entirely of the central tower. The restoration works did not re-build the western part and the northern part, leaving instead a beautiful court yard with views over the plain. Today, the complex is made up of two well-distinct parts: one part is the 12th century tower and the other inhabited part is a semi-circular structure which dates back to the 15th century.
The tower, which has a square base, stands in the centre of the buildings situated on a rock which emerges from the ground. Long chocks are placed at the base of the walls, especially in the corners. Two doors both situated on the north side open externally: the original door has a height of 7.40m with a solid frame, the other, which is accessed via a double staircase, was opened during the restoration works of the 19th century. On the inside, the tower is divided into three floors with a wooden granary accessed by a spiral staircase. The roof of the tower is a lead platform, with battlements and a magnificent viewpoint.
The living area, which has double windows of exquisite workmanship, is spread over three floors. The following rooms are of particular interest: the reception room with its monumental hall, the Chapel, in which the paintings were due to the Artari, the hall of arms, where all the crests of the main noble families of the Aosta Valley are displayed, surmounted by the crest of the House of Savoy.
This castle was built by the Lords of La Tour de Villa. The ancestor of this lineage was Guido, cited in a pact sanctioning his alliance with the Count of Savoy for the storming of the fort of Bard in 1242. The last male descendant of the lineage was Grat Philibert de La Tour who died in 1693. The family crest is a golden lion, with red claws and tongue, rearing up on a black shield, accompanied by the motto Praecibus et Operibus (with prayers and work). The castle then was passed by inheritance to the Aymoniers and Carrels and was used for the charity fund of the Saint Laurent parish in Aosta.
Falling into ruin, the castle was sold in 1864 to a certain Vincent Carlin, who sold it, in turn, in 1885, to the Bishop of Aosta of the era, Auguste Duc, who restored it and made it his summer residence. In 1921, it was passed to the Gerbore barons of Saint-Nicolas and since 1945, has belonged to a family of Milan.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.