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Assemblée Nationale

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L'Assemblée nationale, dans le VIIe arrondissement de Paris.
L'Assemblée nationale

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Like the Sénat, the Assemblée Nationale (also known as the Palais Bourbon) is a royal building adapted for republicanism. It was built between 1722 and 1728 for the Duchesse de Bourbon, daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, who also put up the neighbouring Hôtel de Lassay for her lover, the Marquis de Lassay.

The palais was modelled on the Grand Trianon at Versailles, with a colonnaded cour d'honneur opening on to rue de l'Université and gardens running down to the Seine. The Prince de Condé extended the palace, linked the two hôtels and laid out place du Palais-Bourbon. The Greek temple-style façade facing Pont de la Concorde (the rear of the building) was added in 1806 to mirror the Madeleine.

Flanking this riverside façade are statues of four great statesmen: L'Hôpital, Sully, Colbert and Aguesseau. The Napoleonic frieze on the pediment was replaced by a monarchist one after the restoration: between 1838 and 1841, Cortot sculpted the figures of France, Power and Justice. After the Revolution, the palace became the meeting place for the Conseil des Cinq-Cents.

It was the forerunner of the parliament's lower house, which set up here for good in 1827. Visits are by arrangement through a serving député (if you're French) - or, after long queuing, during the Journées du Patrimoine.

By: Anna Moreau



Address: 126 rue de l'Université

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