The plump Marie of Medici and her 13 km aqueduct in Luxembourg garden

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Medici fountain - ©Shepard4711 / CC-BY-SA Medici fountain - ©Shepard4711 / CC-BY-SA
Luxembourg palace Garden Marie of Medici

At the end of the 10th century, we found at the current position of the Luxembourg the small Vauvert castle, where lived king Robert the Pious. It was a very disreputable place, outside of the medieval wall raised by king Philip Augustus, transformed into a monastery in 1258. To the north of this place was the hôtel de Luxembourg, built in 1546 by Alexandre de La Tourette, then later owned by François de Luxembourg in 1570.

But the story of our palace truly began when Mary of Medici owned the estate in 1612. The queen really liked this quiet place, cleaner than the Louvre. Next to the Luxembourg, she raised a new palace with her architect Salomon de La Brosse: the Grand Luxembourg. Mary planted 2000 elm trees in the garden and laid out flowerbeds and fountains.

In order to supply those fountains with water, she asked a man called Joseph Aubry to build an aqueduct. Its size? 13 kilometres, from Rungis where the springs were collected! Mary of Medici moved in his palace in 1625, but she was exiled in Cologne: she died there in 1642...

The Luxembourg fell to Louis XIV, who raised here the children he had with madame de Montespan, his mistress. Then it fell to the young Louis XVIII in 1778 and the palace became a weapon factory and a prison, called maison nationale de sûreté: Danton and Desmoulins were put in jail here. In the reign of Napoleon, the Luxembourg became the palais du Sénat.


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