Inside the National Assembly in Paris

Inside the National Assembly in Paris
The Assemblée Nationale is one of the most important buildings in France. Beyond it’s immense political importance, it also exudes historical and architectural significance. The Palais Bourbon was once the seat of power for monarchs, and now it’s the political epicenter of the French Republic, as it serves as the offices of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament. This spring, the National Assembly welcomed artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet to present five installations, in conjunction with Galerie Derouillon. This was an initiative of the president of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet. The idea is to create dialogue between contemporary art and heritage, by welcoming contemporary artists to showcase their creations. Crafted to look like giant colorful vases, Navet’s installations have been given pride of place in the Cour d’Honneur and the Quatre-Colonnes garden of the National Assembly. For culture lovers, the promise of art, architecture and a heavy dose of history and politics is a mélange too good to be missed. The Cour d’Honneur with Alexandre Benjamin Navet’s art installations. Photo: Pronoti Baglary Considering the scale and grandeur of the National Assembly, it’s impossible to do it justice in one article, but I will share some of my visit highlights here. A brief history of the Palais Bourbon and Hôtel de Lassay France’s Assemblée Nationale is housed in the former royal residences Palais Bourbon and the Hôtel de Lassay. Both buildings were built simultaneously, from 1722 to 1728, on land acquired by the Duchess of Bourbon. She had ceded part of her land to her lover, the Marquis de Lassay. Four architects were involved in the construction: Giardini, Lassurance, Jacques Gabriel and Aubert. The buildings were designed in the “Italian style.” This is also called the neoclassical style of architecture, with the influence of the Corinthian order, most apparent in the heavy use of tall columns throughout the building. This massive property has gone through huge design changes over the decades, reflecting the whims and fancies of the monarchs who first built it, and later, the renovations to suit the needs of government parliamentarians. Drawing of the Palais Bourbon in 1730. Wikimedia Commons

Lead photo credit : The Assemblée nationale. Photo: Pronoti Baglary

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Pronoti is a freelance writer and photographer based in Paris. When she is not writing or learning French, she spends her time exploring Parisian oddities and delights. A sociologist by training, she is interested in everything related to society and culture including food, language and architecture. She shares photographs and tid-bits about her life in France on her Instagram @paris_shuffle and on her blog The Shuffle.