During the High Middle Ages a fortified church with a ring wall and perhaps a tower was built near the current Steinsberg Castle. By the end of the 12th century, these fortifications were demolished and a new castle was built above formerly fortified plateau and the Church of St. Lazius. It was probably built for a local noble family. In 1209 Albert von Frickingen sold all his estates and villages as well as the castle above Ardez to the Bishop of Chur. Count Albert von Tirol also had a claim on the lands, but in 1228 relinquished his claim to the Bishop of Chur. The castle became the center of the ecclesiastical estates in the area. In 1348 the Bishop pledgedthe castle and lands to the Planta family for a loan of 150 Marks. In 1359, the Bishop again pledged the castle to the Lords of Katzenstein for 700 Gulden. In 1411 it was pledged to Georg Scheck. Despite attempts from the Bishop to regain ownership of the castle, the Scheck family retained it until 1502.
In 1499, during the Swabian War, the castle was captured by imperial troops on 25 March. They burned the castle and the current owner Balthasar Scheck was taken to Merano and executed. In 1502 the heavily damaged castle was pledged to Hans von Planta. He and his son spent the remainder of the 16th century trying to get the Bishop of Chur to pay interest owed on the loan. At some point during that century, they abandoned the ruined castle. As the Three Leagues grew in power, they repeatedly denied the Bishop the right to appoint a vogt over Steinsberg. The nearby church was abandoned during the Protestant Reformation. In 1861 Emanuel von Planta-Wildenberg purchased the ruins and surrounding lands from the Bishop for 1000 Gulden. The ruins were repaired in 1964 and 1985.
The top of the hill has about 100 by 100 meters of space for buildings with steep sides all around. The castle occupies the highest point on the hill. Its four story keep was about 6.5 by 8.5 meters (21 ft × 28 ft) in size. The style of the stone work changes above the second story, indicating that it was either added later or repaired. The high entrance was to the south on the second floor. The upper stories have window seats from the 14th century and were either added then, or they were part of the new construction or repair. A residential wing was built east of the tower, against the ring wall. The castle was probably encircled by the ring wall, though only traces remain.
The ruins of the Romanesque church of St. Luzius are north of the castle. Unusually, the nave of this church runs north and south.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.