The Stockalper Palace built between 1658 and 1678 by Kaspar Stockalper, a silk merchant of Brig. It was the largest private construction in Switzerland at the time.
The first building on the site is known as the Stockalper House, which was built in 1532 by Peter Stockalper. Over the following century it was expanded toward the north, but it remained generally unchanged until the rise of Kaspar Stockalper. Kaspar Stockalper was born to a wealthy family in Brig on 14 July 1609. After studying at the university in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1627 to 1629, he returned to Brig and began building an extensive trading empire. By 1647 he had the local salt monopoly and built a road over the Simplon pass which gave him a monopoly on trade over this pass. Between 1651-59 he built a canal from Vouvry to Collombey which expanded his trading empire. At the peak of his power, Kaspar employed around 5,000 people.
Between 1630 and 1640 Kaspar expanded the Stockalper House toward the south with a great hall, chapel and other construction. The great hall was decorated with a coat of arms in 1653. The chapel altar is black with silver reliefs depicting the Adoration of the Magi and the Coronation of the Virgin, both of which were the work of Samuel Hornung of Augsburg in 1655. A two-story covered arcade leads from the Stockalper House to the much larger Palace.
Kaspar's extensive trade empire required an extensive warehouse and in 1658 he began construction on the Palace to provide that space. Construction of the 80 meters long building lasted 20 years. Once it was completed, Kaspar did not get many opportunities to enjoy his monumental building. In 1679 the communities of Visp, Leuk, Sierre and Sion rose up against him and drove him into exile in Domodossola. Six years later, in 1685, the Diet of Valais negotiated an agreement that allowed Kaspar to return and live out his last years in his Palace.
In 1948 the city took over the Palace and in 1960 the city council moved in. A museum was established in the Palace and some of the rooms were renovated and used for concerts and exhibitions. Today, there are guided tours which allow visitors to tour many parts of the building.
The Palace was built next to the smaller 16th century Gothic Stockalper House. It is a rectangular building with three towers on the north-west, south-west and south-east corners. The interior features a large, rectangular courtyard with arcades in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The balusters that line the second story are not original, but were added later. The three towers were named for the Three kings or Wise Men of the Bible. The tallest was named after Saint Caspar as well as Kaspar Stockalper. The other two were then named Melchior and Balthazar, the traditional names of the Wise Men.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.