Tuileries Palace

(Redirected from Tuileries)

48°51′44″N 2°19′57″E / 48.86222°N 2.33250°E / 48.86222; 2.33250

Tuileries Palace
Palais des Tuileries
The Tuileries Palace from the Solférino bridge, between 1858 and 1863 approx.
General information
TypeRoyal and Imperial residence
Architectural styleBuilt in the 16th century: Renaissance, Additions of the 17th and 18th centuries: Louis XIII style and Baroque, Additions of the 19th century: Neo-Classicism, Neo-Baroque and Second Empire style
Construction started1564
Demolished30 September 1883

The Tuileries Palace (French: Palais des Tuileries, IPA: [pale de tɥilʁi]) was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the Seine, directly in front of the Louvre Palace. It was the Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon III, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871.

Built in 1564, it was gradually extended until it closed off the western end of the Louvre courtyard and displayed an immense façade of 266 metres. Since the destruction of the Tuileries, the Louvre courtyard has remained open to the west, and the site now overlooks the eastern end of the Tuileries Garden, forming an elevated terrace between the Place du Carrousel and the gardens proper.



Plan of Catherine de' Medici (16th century)

The Tuileries, just outside the city walls, in about 1589

The site of the Tuileries Palace was originally just outside the walls of the city, in an area frequently flooded by the Seine as far as the present Rue Saint-Honoré. The land was occupied by the workshops and kilns craftsmen who made "tuiles", or roof tiles. Because of its proximity to the Louvre Castle, members of the royal family began buying plots of land there.[1]

After the death of Henry II in 1559, his widow Catherine de' Medici moved into the Louvre Castle with her son, Francis II. She planned a new residence for herself, on a site that was close to the Louvre and had space for a large garden. She sold the medieval Hôtel des Tournelles, near the Bastille, where her husband had died, and between 1563 and 1568 acquired several pieces of land which she put together for her new residence. Construction began in 1564, with Philibert de l'Orme working as chief architect. De l'Orme died in 1570, when the work was still in its early stages. His place was taken by Jean Bullant. The 1588 outbreak of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the city abruptly halted the work, and the unprotected site was abandoned and pillaged.[2]

Additions of Henry IV


Work did not resume until 1594, when Henry IV made a triumphal return to Paris, and recommenced construction of the Louvre and the Tuileries. He constructed the Grande Galerie, parallel to the Seine, which connected the two palaces. At the same time, Henry commissioned the landscape gardener Claude Mollet to modify the plan of the gardens. The architects and decorators Etienne Duperac, Louis Metezeau and Jacques II Androuet du Cerceau contributed to the new palace.[3] Androuet de Cerceau contributed the Gros Pavilion des Tuileries, a tower that linked the Louvre and Tuileries palaces.[4]

Louis XIV and Louis XV – enlargement and departure (17th and 18th centuries)


After the death of Henry IV in 1610, work on the palace halted. His son Louis XIII had no intention of continuing construction. Indeed, work did not resume until after the end of the Fronde rebellion in 1653. Between 1659 and 1661, King Louis XIV and Cardinal Mazarin had First Royal Architect Louis Le Vau enlarge the palace, extending it to the north with the addition of the Théâtre des Tuileries.[5]

In 1662, Louis XIV celebrated the birth of his son and heir, Louis, Dauphin of France, with a spectacular "Carrousel" held in the courtyard on the east side of the palace. The equestrian pageant, with dressage and other exercises, drew over 700 participants. It offered a variety of tournaments and competitions, including a contest in which horsemen were asked to spear the cardboard heads of "Saracens" and "Moors", as well as a series of mounted processions around the courtyard, complete with music. The King himself took part, dressed as a Roman emperor. The courtyard thereafter became known as the Carrousel.

From 1664 to 1666, Le Vau and his assistant François d'Orbay made other significant changes. They transformed Philibert de l'Orme's façades and central pavilion, replacing its grand central staircase with a collonaded vestibule on the ground floor and the Salle des Cents Suisses (Hall of the Hundred Swiss Guards) on the floor above. They also added a rectangular dome. A new grand staircase was installed in the entrance of the north wing of the palace, and lavishly decorated royal apartments were constructed in the south wing. The king's rooms were on the ground floor, facing the Louvre, and the queen's on the floor above, overlooking the garden. At the same time, Louis' gardener, André Le Nôtre, redesigned the Tuileries Garden.[6]

Louis XIV fully used his redecorated and enlarged palace for only a short time. The Court moved into the Tuileries Palace in November 1667, but left in 1672, and soon thereafter settled in the Palace of Versailles. The Tuileries Palace was virtually abandoned and used only as a theatre, but its gardens became a fashionable resort of Parisians.[7]

Following the death of Louis XIV in December 1715, his great-grandson, Louis XV, just five years old, was moved from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace on 1 January 1716. The palace had been rarely used in forty years; it was refurnished and redecorated for the new king, but he remained only until 15 June 1722, when he moved to Versailles, three months before his coronation. Both moves were made at the behest of the Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. The King also resided at the Tuileries for short periods during the 1740s.[8] The large palace theatre continued to be used as a venue for operas, concerts and performances of the Comédie-Française.[9]

Louis XVI - Royal sanctuary and revolutionary battleground


On 1 December 1783, the palace garden was the starting point of a major event in aviation history—the first manned flight in a hydrogen balloon, by Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers. It took place just two months after the first manned balloon flight by the Montgolfier brothers in a hot air balloon from the Palace of Versailles. King Louis XVI watched from the tower. Among the crowd of spectators was Benjamin Franklin, the United States ambassador to France. The balloon and its passengers landed safely at Nesles-la-Vallée, 31 miles from Paris.[10]

Not long afterwards, on 6 October 1789, Louis XVI and his family were forced to leave Versailles for Paris, moving back into the Tuileries. Nothing had been prepared for their arrival; the various occupants who had moved into the palace were abruptly expelled, and furniture had to be brought from Versailles. The royal family lived in relative calm for a time; the gardens were reserved for them until noon when they were opened to the public.[10]

On 9 November 1789, the National Constituent Assembly, formerly the Estates General of 1789, moved its meetings from the tennis court at Versailles to the Salle du Manège. This was the Tuileries' covered equestrian academy, on the north side of the palace, which was the largest meeting hall in the city. It was also used by the Assembly's successor, the National Convention and, in 1795, the Council of Five Hundred (Conseil des Cinq-Cents) of the Directory until the body moved to the Palais-Bourbon in 1798. In 1799, the Jacobin Club du Manège had its headquarters there. The Committee of Public Safety, led by Robespierre, met in the Pavillon de Flore.

On 21 June 1791, as the Revolution intensified, the King and his family attempted to escape. That night they attended a final Vespers Mass in the palace chapel, and then, disguised and with their attendants, attempted to reach the Austrian border by coach. They were recognised and arrested at Varennes, brought back to Paris, and placed under house arrest.[11]

On 10 August 1792, a large mob stormed the palace gates, entered the gardens, and overwhelmed and massacred the Swiss Guards who defended the palace. They set fires in several of the outlying buildings of the palace. Vestiges of buildings destroyed by the fires were discovered during archaeological excavations in 1989.[11] After the massacre of the Swiss Guards, the palace itself was taken over by the Sans-culottes. In November 1792, the invaders discovered the armoire de fer, a hiding place at the royal apartments, believed to contain the secret correspondence of Louis XVI with other European monarchs, appealing for help. This increased anger against the imprisoned king and queen. The National Convention, meeting in the Manège of the palace, launched the Reign of Terror in 1793–94, leading to the execution of the king and queen, along with thousands of others accused of opposing the Revolution.[12]

Napoleon in the Tuileries


On 19 February 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte moved his official residence to the Tuileries, a more suitable setting for his imperial ambitions. Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine began redesigning the interior in the Neoclassical Empire style. Napoleon also began a series of reconstructions around the palace, tearing down the ruins of buildings burned during the Revolution. In 1806, in the centre of the courtyard of the Carrousel, he ordered the construction of a triumphal arch modelled after the ancient Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome to serve as the ceremonial gateway of the palace. In 1808, after he became emperor, he moved forward with the grand project of Henry IV. This project entailed the construction of a new wing of the palace on the north side of the gardens, which would match the existing wing on the south side. This wing would connect the Tuileries with the Louvre. This involved tearing down the Manège and other buildings to clear the courtyard, and the construction of a new street, the Rue de Rivoli, named for his victory at the Battle of Rivoli in 1797.

After Napoleon's divorce, Pierre Paul Prud'hon was commissioned to design the apartments of his new wife, Marie Louise. Her bridal suite was furnished with furniture and interior decorations in the Greek Revival style. The son of Napoleon and Marie-Louise, Napoleon II, was born in 1811. He was given a residence in the Waterside Gallery of the Louvre, connected to the Tuileries by a short underground passageway, and his own small pavilion in the courtyard, decorated by Fontaine.[13]

Palace of Louis Philippe and Louis Napoleon


Following the defeat and exile of Napoleon, the gardens became a large camp for Russian and Prussian soldiers, while the kings of France returned to the palace during the Bourbon Restoration. During the July Revolution of 1830, which installed Louis Philippe I as the new monarch, the Tuileries was again stormed and occupied by an armed mob. This time the Swiss Guards of the King, rather than remaining to be massacred, quietly departed their posts. Louis Philippe occupied the palace until 1848, when it was again briefly invaded, and the King chased out during the French revolution of 1848.[12]

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon, was elected as the first President of France in 1848, and occupied the Elysée Palace. In 1852, when he could not run again, he crowned himself emperor and moved his residence to the Tuileries. The Tuileries was extensively refurbished and redecorated after the looting and damage that had occurred during the Revolution of 1848. Imposing staterooms were designed and richly decorated in what became known as the Second Empire style. The prominent roof lines of the palace, and especially its squared central dome, became influential prototypes; they were adopted for hotels and commercial buildings, as well as government buildings and residences in France and abroad. The new staterooms were theatrical settings for the ceremonies and pageantry of the Second Empire, such as the visit of Queen Victoria in 1855. The old buildings that had filled the courtyard were cleared away; and Napoleon III completed the northern wing of the Louvre along the rue de Rivoli, linking the Tuileries Palace with the Louvre, completing the grand plan of Henry IV.[14]

The private apartment used by Napoleon III, on the ground floor of the palace's southern wing, consisted of "gilt boxes furnished in the style of the First Empire." His rooms were known to be kept at extremely high temperatures, per his request. Empress Eugénie had her apartment above, connected to the Emperor's by a winding staircase. Along this staircase was a mezzanine occupied by the treasurer of the privy purse, comprising 8 of the 11 rooms on the bel etage of the southern wing's garden side.[15]

The state rooms of the south wing—located on the side facing east to the Carrousel—were used variously, depending on the occasion. At informal dinners, the household would gather in the private drawing room, or Salon d'Apollon, which was separated from the Salle de Maréchaux, in the central pavilion, by the First Consul's Room, or Salon Blanc. The party would proceed through the throne room to dinner in the Salon Louis XIV. However, gala dinners were held in the larger Galerie de Diane, the southernmost of the state apartments. If it were a state ball, then refreshments would be set up in the Galerie; and the procession of the imperial party would be from there to the Salle de Maréchaux, which occupied the space of two entire floors of the central Pavillon de L'Horloge and served as the ballroom.[15]

The little-used northern wing of the palace, which contained the chapel, the Galerie de la Paix, and the Salle de Spectacle, was used only for performances, such as the Daniel Auber cantata performed on the evening of Napoleon and Eugénie's civil wedding ceremony, 29 July 1853, or for important fêtes, such as the party given for sovereigns attending the International Exposition on 10 June 1867.[16] The Salle de Spectacle was also used as a hospital during the Franco-Prussian War.[17]

Between 1864 and 1868, Napoleon III asked that the Pavillon de Flore, now the southernmost pavilion, be redesigned by Hector Lefuel to match his other modifications to the palaces.[4] It served as the backstairs to the palace, served by a network of service corridors. From the Pavillon de Flore, one could access the sprawling basement, lit with innumerable gas lamps, where a railway had been set up to bring food from the kitchens under the Rue de Rivoli.[18]

Destruction during the Paris Commune


On 23 May 1871, during the suppression of the Paris Commune, 12 men under the orders of the Commune's former chief military commander Jules Bergeret set the Tuileries on fire using petroleum, liquid tar and turpentine. The fire lasted 48 hours and thoroughly gutted the palace, with the exception of the foundations, the Pavillon de Flore and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.[19][20] The dome itself was blown up by explosives placed in the central pavilion and detonated by the fires. In his note to the Committee of Public Safety, Bergeret said, "The last vestiges of Royalty have just disappeared. I wish that the same may befall all the public buildings of Paris."[21] It was not until 25 May that the Paris fire brigades and the 26th battalion of the Chasseurs d'Afrique managed to put out the fire. The library and other portions of the Louvre were also set on fire by Communards and entirely destroyed. The museum itself was saved by the efforts of the firemen.

The ruins of the Tuileries stood on the site for 11 years. Although the roofs and the inside of the palace had been utterly destroyed by the fire, the stone walls of the palace remained intact and restoration was possible. Other monuments of Paris also set on fire by Communards, such as the City Hall, were rebuilt in the 1870s. After much hesitation, the Third Republic, more sympathetic to the Commune, pardoned the Commune members exiled abroad. In 1882, despite opposition from Baron Haussmann and historians, they had the walls torn down.[22]

The demolition was started in February 1883 and completed on 30 September 1883. Bits of stone and marble from the palace were sold by a private entrepreneur, Achille Picart, as souvenirs, and even to build a castle in Corsica, near Ajaccio, the Château de la Punta [fr],[23] which is essentially a reconstruction of the Pavillon de Bullant. The courtyard pediment of the central pavilion can be seen in Paris' Georges Cain square [fr], other pieces are found in the garden of the Palais du Trocadéro, the Louvre and the Museum of Decorative Arts.[24] In addition, other parts of the palace are located within France in Arcueil, Barentin, Roybet Fould Museum [fr] in Courbevoie, Château de Varax in Marcilly-d'Azergues, Nantes, Saint-Raphaël and Salins, and other countries such as Schwanenwerder in Berlin, Germany, Bordighera in Italy and Palacio de Carondelet in Quito, Ecuador.[25]

The Tuileries Garden and the Axe historique

Afternoon at the Tuileries Park by Adolph von Menzel

Tuileries Garden


The Tuileries Garden (French: Jardin des Tuileries) covers 22.4 hectares (55 acres); is surrounded by the Louvre (to the east), the Seine (to the south), the Place de la Concorde (to the west) and the Rue de Rivoli (to the north); and still closely follows the design laid out by the royal landscape architect André Le Nôtre in 1664. The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume is a museum of contemporary art located in the northwest corner of the garden.[26]

Originally designed in 1564 as an Italian Renaissance garden by Bernard de Carnesse, the Tuileries Garden was redesigned in 1664 by Le Nôtre as a jardin à la française, which emphasized symmetry, order, and long perspectives.[27] His formal garden plan drew out the perspective from the reflecting pools one to the other in an unbroken vista along a central axis from the west palace façade, which has been extended as the Axe historique.

The Axe historique


This straight line which runs through the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe to La Défense was originally centred on the façade of the Tuileries, a similar line leading across the entrance court of the Louvre. As the two façades were placed at slightly differing angles, this resulted in a slight 'kink' on the site of the palace, a feature ultimately dictated by the curved course of the River Seine.

After the palace was demolished in 1883, the large empty space between the northern and southern wings of the Louvre, now familiar to modern visitors, was revealed, and for the first time the Louvre courtyard opened onto the unbroken Axe historique.

Proposed reconstruction

Le Nôtre's central axis of the Tuileries' parterres in a late 17th-century engraving
The same view today, past the palace's site to the Louvre Palace

In 2003, a group called the Committee for the Reconstruction of the Tuileries (French: Comité national pour la reconstruction des Tuileries)[28][29] proposed the reconstruction of the Tuileries on its original site. Proponents of the plan noted that much of the original furniture and paintings still existed, put into storage when the Franco-Prussian War began in 1870.

In 2006 a rebuilding of the Palace of the Tuileries was estimated to cost 300 million euros (£200 million pounds sterling or US$380 million). The plan was to finance the project by public subscription with the work being undertaken by a private foundation, with the French government spending no money on the project. The French president at that time, Jacques Chirac, called for a debate on the subject. Former president Charles de Gaulle had also supported reconstruction, saying that it would "make a jewel of the centre of Paris."[20]

However, in 2008, Michel Clément, Director of Architecture and Heritage, stated "From our point of view, the reconstruction of the Tuileries Palace is not a priority. In addition, it is not part of French heritage culture to resurrect monuments out of the ground ex nihilo. Rather, we are concerned with the vestiges that have survived."[29]


See also



  1. ^ Jacquin, "Les Tuileries - du Louvre à la Concorde" (2000), p. 4
  2. ^ Jacquin, "Les Tuileries - du Louvre à la Concorde" (2000), p. 6
  3. ^ Jacquin (2000), p. 9
  4. ^ a b Ballon 1991, pp. 55–56.
  5. ^ Coeyman 1998, pp. 45–46.
  6. ^ Hautecoeur 1927, pp. 123–142; Devêche 1981, pp. 9–13
  7. ^ Hautecoeur 1927, pp. 123–142; Devêche 1981, pp. 9–13.
  8. ^ Bernier, Oliver, Louis The Beloved: The Life of Louis XV, Doubleday, Garden City, 1984 pp. 12-39
  9. ^ Jacquin 2000, p. 24.
  10. ^ a b Jacquin 2000, p. 65.
  11. ^ a b Jacquin 2000, p. 24-25.
  12. ^ a b Jacquin 2000, p. 24-27.
  13. ^ Jacquin 2000, p. 33.
  14. ^ Jacquin 2000, p. 34.
  15. ^ a b Filon, Augustin (1920). Recollections of the Empress Eugénie. London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 61–74. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  16. ^ Kurtz, Harold (1964). The Empress Eugénie: 1826-1920. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 56.
  17. ^ Filon, Augustin (1920). Recollections of the Empress Eugénie. London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 126–127. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  18. ^ Filon, Augustin (1920). Recollections of the Empress Eugénie. London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. pp. 107–108. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Paris". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (14th ed.). Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 1956. p. 293.
  20. ^ a b Samuel, Henry (14 August 2006). "£200m plan to restore glory of Tuileries Palace". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  21. ^ 'Paris under Siege' by Joanna Richardson publ. Folio Society London 1982
  22. ^ Jacquin 2000, pp. 36–37.
  23. ^ "Le Chateau de la Punta".
  24. ^ Van Cappel de Premont, François. "Du Pavillon Bullant au Château de la Punta" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Les Tuileries: Grands décors d'un palais disparu" (PDF) (in French). Éditions du patrimoine. 27 October 2016. p. 4.
  26. ^ "The Carrousel & Tuileries Gardens". Louvre Museum.
  27. ^ "Les Tuileries Gardens. Facts. Information". Paris Digest. 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Alain Boumier, président du Comité national pour la reconstruction des Tuileries, en chat sur L'Internaute" (in French). 9 December 2006.
  29. ^ a b "Le Palais des Tuileries va-t-il renaître de ses cendres ?" [Will the Tuileries Palace Rise From Its Ashes?]. La Croix (in French). 14 September 2008. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2015.


  • Ballon, Hilary (1991). The Paris of Henri IV: Architecture and Urbanism. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262023092.
  • Coeyman, Barbara (1998). "Opera and Ballet in Seventeenth-Century French Theatres: Case Studies of the Salle des Machines and the Palais Royal Theater" in Radice 1998, pp. 37–71.
  • Devêche, André (1981). The Tuileries Palace and Gardens, translated by Jonathan Eden. Paris: Éditions de la Tourelle-Maloine. OCLC 461768004, 13623823.
  • Hautecoeur, Louis (1927). L'Histoire des Chateaux du Louvre et des Tuileries. Paris: G. Van Oest. OCLC 1748382, 250838397.
  • Jacquin, Emmanuel (2000). Les Tuileries, Du Louvre à la Concorde. Paris: Editions du Patrimoine, Centres des Monuments Nationaux. ISBN 978-2-85822-296-4.
  • Radice, Mark A., editor (1998). Opera in Context: Essays on Historical Staging from the Late Renaissance to the Time of Puccini. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 9781574670325.