The Lello Bookstore (Livraria Lello) is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and frequently rated among the top bookstores in the world. It originally dates from 1869, but Lello brothers built a new bookstore on the current location in 1906. It was designed by engineer Francisco Xavier Esteves.
The building's exterior has a mixed architectural suggesting Neo-Gothic, and Art Nouveau elements, and in the interior, implied Art Deco elements.
On the first floor, it includes bated arch, divided into three vains, with the central arch providing entrance into the building and decorative lateral windows, each surmounted by flag adapted to the archway. Above this arch are three elongated rectangular windows flanked by two painted figures representing 'Art' and 'Science' (work of Professor Jose Bielman).
Finishing the facade are squared plaits surmounted by three decorated pinnacles, with two pilasters on either side, topped by pinnacles of equal design. Decorative elements complete the facade with alternating geometric shapes that circuit and the firm's name LELLO & BROTHER over the bow, all painted in vivid colours that highlight the white paint on the facade.
The ample interior space is marked by a forked staircase connecting to a gallery on the first floor with detailed wood balusters. Over this staircase is a large 8 by 3.5 metres stained glass window, with the central motto Decus in Labore and monogram of the owners. The ceiling and interiors are treated exhaustively with painted plaster, designed to resemble sculpted wood surfaces and decorative elements. The building still retains the rails and wooden cart once used to move books around the store between the shelves.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.