Le Petit Luxembourg Palace in Paris
Located within the Luxembourg Gardens, the Petit Luxembourg dates back to the 1500s although the interior dates from the 1700s, and called the small palace to distinguish it from the grand Palais du Luxembourg, it has been home to the President of the High Assembly of the French Senate since 1825.
About the Petit Luxembourg Palace
Although the palace has been home to the President of the High Assembly since 1825, there is a rich history of the Petit Luxembourg going back centuries before, and classed as one of the historical monuments in Paris, there are many original features that have been preserved.
It was actually when Anne of Bavaria, the widow of Henri Jules de Bourbon Conde, took over the Petit Luxembourg in the 1700s, that numerous alterations were made by the architect Germain Boffrand, as she wished the palace to be extended and also redecorated.
One of the facades on the older wing of the palace is still the original dating from the 1500s, which can still be seen today, however, the interior was completely changed and an elaborate stair hall with sweeping staircase, ornate carvings and balustrades of stone rather than wrought iron were used.
And it was on the second story that the Princess Palatine, Anne of Bavaria, had her own private apartments, with the Salon des Tapisseries and the Grand Salon still retaining the original features from the 1700s.
These include friezes, painted ceilings and ornate cornices, and the rooms were designed in a similar way to the Grand Trianon at the Chateau Versailles, which meant that parts of the walls could remain bare for hanging tapestries and paintings.
Obviously, over the years there has had to be restoration and renovations undertaken to preserve the rich history of the Petit Luxembourg, and unfortunately, it is not normally open to the public, except for on specific days, like on the Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine, which are the European Heritage Days held in late September each year.
Visiting the Petit Luxembourg in Paris
You will find the main entrance to the Petit Luxembourg on the Rue de Vaugirard, however, you can also see this palace from the Jardin du Luxembourg on the northern side of the garden, which is where it is situated in the 6th Arrondissement of the city in between the Musee du Luxembourg and the Palais du Luxembourg.
Now, as you can no doubt appreciate, this formal residence is heavily guarded and not normally open to the public, however, there are certain occasions when areas are opened up, such as when it has opened on the European Heritage Days held in September, like we mentioned earlier.
But even if you cannot get to see the palace in all its glory and magnificence, you can still get to see the facades, etc, even if not always up close due to the security, along with the numerous other historical buildings and tourist attractions in Paris that are located within the Luxembourg Gardens.
So when it comes to public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro stations are the Saint-Sulpice stop via line 4 or the Rennes stop serving line 12. Yet if you are travelling on the RER trains you would need the Luxembourg stop serving Line B, which is nearest, or on the opposite side of the Jardin du Luxembourg you have the Port Royal stop serving the same line.
Alternatively, the Bus Lines 21, 27, 38, 58, 82, 83, 84 and 89 along with the Noctilien Night Bus via Lines N14, N21 and N122 will also get you close by to this historical monument and the Jardin du Luxembourg.