Built in 1722 as a country house surrounded by gardens, the Palais Bourbon is one of the most remarkable buildings in Paris. Nationalized during the French Revolution and redesigned in 1806 by Napoleon Bonaparte, today, this building is the seat of the French National Assembly. This place also houses many contemporary works of art, such as the “Sphere of Human Rights“ by Walter de Maria. This centre of French parliamentary life is open to the public, so make sure not to miss the opportunity to visit it.
Louise Françoise de Bourbon, the daughter of Louis XIV, decided in 1722 to build a country house at the edge of Paris. For that reason, the Duchesse of Bourbon commissioned several architects such as Pierre Cailleteau and Jacques Gabriel. The structure of this palace surrounded by gardens was imagined to evoke the Grande Trianon Palace in Versailles. After the death of the Duchesse in 1743, her grandson, Prince of Condé, decided to modernize this country house and to transform it into a beautiful palace. During the French revolution, in 1792, the Palais Bourbon was nationalized, and in 1795, this building hosted for the first time the French National Assembly. In 1806, Napoleon I ordered the construction of a new neoclassical façade, after which twelve Corinthian columns were added to this building. The transformation of the palace continued throughout the 19th century, and one of the most famous French artists, Eugene Delacroix was commissioned to rearrange the interior decoration of the Palais. During the liberation of Paris in 1944, a fire in the library damaged some twenty thousand books.
Located in the beautiful Parisian neighborhood, just next to the iconic Pont de Concorde and the magnificent Jardin de Tuileries, the Palais Bourbon is a place that also houses many contemporary works of art. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, an American artist, Walter De Maria, was commissioned to design a modern sculpture. Known for his minimalist sculptures and installations, De Maria made a large granite sphere placed on a marble pedestal. The “Sphere of Human Rights“ sculpture was installed in 1989 in the center of the Court of Honor. In January 2015, the President of the National Assembly inaugurated, in the Salon of Mariannes, the work of the American graffiti artist JonOne. This work titled "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" is inspired by Eugène Delacroix's painting "Freedom Guiding the People", and it is a tribute to the foundations of the French Republic and democracy.
The Palais Bourbon, one of the most remarkable buildings in Paris, is since November 2012 open to the public. Guided tours are organised every Saturday during the Assembly, and individual visits are available during the periods of adjournment from Monday to Saturday. Visits are organized for groups of up to 50 people, and they are free of charge and last for an hour and a half.
Cover Photo © Credit to iStockphoto/venakr
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