Palais du Luxembourg, 6 th arrondissememnt, Paris -

restaurants in the 6th, Luxembourg Gardens, return to 6th
Palais du Luxembourg

Palais du Luxembourg History

Henri IV's widow, Marie de Medici didn't like living in the Louvre as a widow.

In 1611 she bought a mansion from the Duke of Luxembourg, and she also bought the adjacent buildings.

She commissioned the architect Salomon de Brosse to knock down these buildings and design and build her something to remind her of the Pitti Palace in Florence which had been her childhood home.

15 years later the Palais du Luxembourg was finished. However Marie had been exiled by her son, now king, to Germany in 1617 for meddling in state affairs and opposing Richelieu (once her protege). She died some years later in Cologne quite destitute.

A succession of members of the French royal family lived in the Palais. And in 1750 the east wing was open to the public twice a week so they could come and view around 50 of the King's paintings. This was the first public museum in France.

During the revolution the Palais served as a prison. It is estimated that 800 prisoners were kept here, and about a third of these were sent to be guillotined. One of the unlucky ones who survived was Danton.

Since 1850 the Palais has been home to the Sénat, so can be visited on Sundays only. The entrance for visitors is round the back of the building.

On the left is a close-up of the clock above the front entrance.

Clock of the Palais Luxembourg

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