The Fort du Portalet is a fort in the Aspe Valley in French Pyrenees, built from 1842 to 1870. The fort, built by order of Louis Philippe I, guards the border of the Pyrenees and protects access to the Col du Somport. Fort du Portalet is located on a cliff face underneath the Chemin de la Mâture and overlooks the torrential river Gave d'Aspe. Begun in 1842 and finished in 1870, the fort replaced an earlier structure further north.
Capable of accommodating 400 men, the fort served as depot and barracks for the 18th Regiment of Infantry between 1871 and 1925. It then ceased to be used as a full-time military facility.
During World War II, the Vichy regime arrested and interned Léon Blum, Édouard Daladier, Paul Reynaud, Georges Mandel and Maurice Gamelin as political prisoners at the fort. After the Riom Trials, Reynaud was transferred to German custody and held in Germany. Mandel was taken to Paris, where he was executed in 1944 by the Milice in retaliation for the assassination earlier that year of Philippe Henriot, a Vichy official, by the Resistance. After the war, Philippe Pétain, the head of the Vichy government, was imprisoned in the fort from 15 August to 16 November 1945.
After the government abandoned the fort, it was bought by the local authorities in 1999. They are restoring it.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.