The Abbey of Santa Maria de Benevívere was ordered to be built in the twelfth century by Don Diego Martínez de Villamayor. He was a Castilian noble from the house of the counts of Bureba, who was very influential at court. He was the advisor of Alfonso VII and Sancho III, and treasurer of Alfonso VIII. After losing his wife he decided to retire and devote himself to the contemplative life. He laid the foundation of the Abbey in 1169.
The Poema de Benevívere (Poem of Benevívere) was written in Latin around the beginning of the thirteenth century in 758 verses. The poem tells the story of Diego Martínez de Villamayor, who aspired to be a saint, and King Alfonso VIII of Castile. It contrasts the religious and secular goals and ideals, and shows their intimate relationship.
The house was occupied by Canons Regular living in community under the Augustinian Rule. It was approved by apostolic bulls of Pope Alexander III (1178), Pope Lucius III (1183), Pope Innocent IV (1284) and Pope Eugene IV (1483). The abbey also had two suffragans that followed the same rule, Trianos in León and Villalbura in Burgos. There were six dependent priories: Santiago of Tola near Ceinos de Campos, Vallodolid, San Salvador de Vallarramiel in Palencia, San Martín de Pereda near Riaño, León, Santa María de Pereda near Benavente, Zamora, Nuestra Señora de Mañino near Sotobañado, Palencia and the hospital of San Torcuato. The founder established a pilgrim hospital next to the abbey, served by monks, called White Hospital or San Torcuato. The abbey also served the farmers of the parish.
The monks lost their property in the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal of 1835. The convent was sold in 1843 and was almost completely demolished, despite efforts by Valentín Carderera and the Central Commission of Monuments to save it. Most of the monastery's papers are now held in the National Historical Archives in Madrid. Other relics are in a park at Carrión de los Condes and in various museums. A sarcophagus from Benevívere sculpted by Roy Martínez de Bureba y de Bame is held in the Palencia Museum. There are now only a few small remnants of the abbey at the site.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.