Bayonne has been inhabited since roman times, when it was known as Lapurdum. Its medieval fortifications were improved by Louis XII, and Francois I, enabling the town to defend itself against a Spanish army in 1523.
Vauban visited Bayonne sometime in the 1670's, and planned more improvements to the fortifications, including the construction of additional demi-lunes and a large, quadrangular citadel to the north of the river Adour. The city itself, which lies to the south of the Adour and is bisected by the river Nive, was surrounded by a wall of 9 rather eccentric bastions.
The citadel was designed from scratch by Vauban, and is a large square work with four bastions. It saw action against the invading British forces at the end of the Peninsular War, when it was taken by General Hill after a determined defence by the French.
The fortifications of Petit Bayonne, the eastern half of the town, had four bastions and one gate, the Porte de Notre Dame. To the west, Grand Bayonne had five bastions and two gates, the Porte d'Espagne and the Porte de la Poterne. The first gate is unusual in that it enters the walls through a bastion, not through the courtine as is normally the case.
The size and shape of each bastion is very different, and there are varying lengths between them, which makes the fortifications seem less regular than some. This is probably due to the way Bayonne was fortified in several stages, with improvements added gradually.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.