The Palais des Tuileries is a palace now destroyed whose construction began in 1564 under the impetus of Catherine de Medici. On this site were three tile factories established in 1372.

To sharpen your imagination, we have grouped 3 historical photos in the full post on the Tuileries Palace: before 1871, during and after the fire.

Enlarged under the successive reigns of the kings of France, it had a huge facade (266 meters long) and became a royal residence (Henri IV, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI or Louis XVIII), then an imperial one (Napoleon I and Napoleon III).

Its destruction is the result of an arson attack on May 23, 1871 by the Communards Jules-Henri-Marius Bergeret, Victor Bénot and Etienne Boudin. The ruins of the Tuileries Palace were destroyed in 1883.

Le Palais des Tuileries est un palais aujourd’hui détruit dont la construction commença en 1564 sous l’impulsion de Catherine de Médicis. A cet emplacement se trouvaient trois fabriques de tuiles établies en 1372.


Tuileries Palace
Jardin des Tuileries
75001 Paris

  • Metro: Palais Royal - Louvre station (Lines 1 and 7) - Tuileries station (Line 1) - Concorde station (Lines 1, 8 and 12)
  • RER
  • Bus : 21, 27, 39, 42, 45,48, 67, 68, 69, 72, 73, 81, 94, 95
  • Parking: Carrousel du Louvre, rue des Pyramides
  • Coach parking: Carrousel du Louvre

Palais des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
75001 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 44″ N 2° 19′ 52″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86325 2.32561
Description complète

The Tuileries Palace is a palace now destroyed whose construction began in 1564 under the impetus of Queen Catherine de Medici. On this site were three tile factories established in 1372.

To sharpen your imagination, we have grouped 3 historical photos in the side gallery: the Tuileries Palace before 1871, during the fire and what remains after the fire.

Origin of this building today a ghost

In 1500, Nicolas I de Neufville, Secretary of Finance, had a hotel built there. Louise de Savoie, mother of François I, who was bothered by the stagnant water in the royal residence, the Hôtel des Tournelles, Place des Vosges, came to live there.

King Henri II died accidentally during a tournament in the Tournelles Hotel in 1559. Catherine de Médicis, his widow, left this property. Charles IX, her son, gave the order to demolish it in 1563. She then bought the Tuileries house, several neighboring properties, as well as a large piece of land belonging to the Quinze-Vingts hospital.

She had them razed to the ground and asked the architects Philibert Delorme, and after his death in 1570, Jean Bullant, to build a palace there. It was to be built to the west of the Louvre, in the direction of the current Champs Elysées. The original ambitious project was limited to the western building. A large Italian garden, the current Tuileries garden, was laid out between the castle and the glacis of the enclosure (now Concord Square).

Construction stalled after a false start

Under the reign of Charles IX, (born in 1550, king from 1560 to 1574) the construction site of the Tuileries was gradually abandoned. Henri III gave some parties, but did not reside there. At the beginning of the 17th century, Henri IV decided to link the Louvre to the Tuileries palace by building a long gallery along the Seine, the beginning of which had existed for several years. From that time on, this was called "the Grand Dessein".

Henri IV and his son "Grand Dessein"

The Grande-Galerie or Galerie du bord de l'eau (which still exists in the Louvre) was built between 1607 and 1610 by Jacques II Androuet du Cerceau. At the same time, the Tuileries Palace was extended southward by a wing called the Petite-Galerie, which was intended to connect the Bullant Pavilion to the Grande-Galerie. At the intersection of the two buildings a pavilion was built, called the Pavillon de la Rivière (and renamed the Pavillon de Flore in 1669). The Louvre and the Tuileries palaces were now linked.

It was Louis XIV (grandson of Henri IV) who decided to resume the construction. The Tuileries Palace was indeed asymmetrical. Between 1659 and 1666, Louis Le Vau and François d'Orbay built first a pavilion to match the Bullant pavilion, and finally a pavilion to balance the Flora pavilion, which was called the "Pavillon de Pomone", then the "Pavillon de Marsan". In 1666-1667, the painter Charles Le Brun directed various projects at the Tuileries Palace with a large team of painters. The palace was now symmetrical and complete from north to south.

However, the building suffered from a great architectural heterogeneity. The king ordered that it be extensively modified by Le Vau: the central pavilion, the wings that flanked it, as well as the Petite-Galerie, were also rebuilt.

The Tuileries Palace in its entirety

It was 260 meters long, from the Pavillon de Marsan in the north to the Pavillon de Flore in the south. To the west of the palace was the Tuileries garden, up to the future Place Louis XV (now Place de la Concorde). To the east was a vast courtyard, called the Cour du Carrousel, itself extended by a square (the Place du Carrousel), then by a district of old houses (located on the site of the current glass pyramid), and finally by the Cour Carrée du Louvre.

The history of France within the walls of the Tuileries Palace until the Revolution

During this period, the main inhabitants of the Tuileries were the Duchess of Montpensier, known as the Grande Mademoiselle (from 1638 to 1652), Louis XIV (from 1664 to 1667) and Louis XV (from 1715 to 1722). The palace was then deserted and occupied by courtiers or artists to whom the King granted privileged housing, as well as by artists, retirees and people of all conditions.

During the Revolution and the Consulate, during the revolutionary days of October 1789, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and their children moved into the palace on October 6, 1789, after having been brought from the Palace of Versailles by the rioters. The Tuileries became part of history: for 80 years, the palace would be the main residence of kings and emperors, as well as the scene of major political events.

The royal family resided in the palace for three years. On June 21, 1791, they tried to flee, but were arrested at Varennes and forced to return to the Tuileries. Then, on August 10, 1792, at 7 o'clock in the morning, she was forced to leave the palace, besieged by the rioters, to take refuge in the Salle du Manège, which housed the Legislative Assembly and which was located along the garden (at the site of the current crossroads between the streets of Rivoli and Castiglione).

Temporary tenants until the arrival of Napoleon 1st

The garrison of Swiss guards remained in place around the now empty palace. The palace was invaded and looted, and nearly 600 guards died either during the fight or later massacred by the crowd. On August 21, 1782, the guillotine was erected on the Place du Carrousel, east of the palace.

On May 10, 1793, the Convention moved to the Tuileries, in the Galerie des Machines. Nothing was changed in the external aspect of the Tuileries. On the other hand, the arrival of the National Assembly was marked by the inscription on the façade of the Palace of three key words of republican mythology. The word Unity was inscribed on the Pavillon de l'Horloge (in the center), Liberty on the Pavillon Marsan, and Equality on the Pavillon de Flore. Finally, a Phrygian cap was planted on top of the Unity pavilion. The Committee of Public Salvation occupied the Petite-Galerie, while the Committee of General Safety moved to a private mansion located north of the Cour du Carrousel, near the Marsan pavilion. Many events took place there, notably the proscription of the Girondins and the fall of Robespierre.     Under the Directory, the Tuileries housed the Council of Elders (1795-1799) until its suppression on November 10, 1799. No more parliamentary assemblies were held in the Tuileries Palace afterwards.

The Tuileries Palace under the 1st Empire

On February 19, 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte, first consul, moved into the palace. He took the second floor as his lodging, occupying the former apartment of the King (he slept in the room of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI). If Cambaceres, second consul, preferred to reside in the Hotel d'Elbeuf, the third consul Lebrun settled in the Pavillon de Flore.

When he became emperor, Napoleon I stayed at the Tuileries, which then became the official residence of the Emperor. It was also between 1806 and 1808 that the architects built the triumphal arch of the Carrousel. This building, imitated the arch of Septimius Severus of Rome. The Place du Carrousel was frequently used for the reviews of the Guard by Napoleon.

At the same time, in order to continue the Grand Dessein begun under Henri IV, Napoleon had a wing built between 1807 and 1815, which closed off the courtyard of the Carrousel to the north, and which extended from the Pavillon de Marsan to the height of the Rue de Rohan, along the Rue de Rivoli.

On November 28, 1804, Pope Pius VII, who came to Paris to crown Napoleon, moved into the palace, where he resided until April 4, 1805. He occupied the former apartment of Madame Elisabeth, on the second floor of the Pavillon de Flore.

The birth of Napoleon's heir and the end of the 1st Empire

It was on the first floor of the south wing that Napoleon and Marie-Louise's son, Napoleon II, the King of Rome, was born in March 1811. The Emperor gave him an apartment next to his mother's, which had been occupied by the grand marshal of the palace, Duroc.

In 1814, Napoleon left the palace and was replaced by Louis XVIII, before returning on March 20, 1815 and leaving it permanently after the defeat at Waterloo.

The Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815-1848)

Back in the Tuileries in July 1815, Louis XVIII was the only king of France to die there (1824). His brother Charles X replaced him there, until the Revolution of July 1830 drove him out and the palace was looted by rioters for the second time in its history.   The Tuileries remained uninhabited until September 21, 1831, when the new king Louis-Philippe, who preferred to reside in his family home, the nearby Palais-Royal, was forced to move to the palace by Casimir Perier, who wanted to enhance the prestige of the July monarchy. His wife, Queen Marie-Amélie, found it sad and compared it to a casauba (casbah). The royal family moved to the first floor of the south wing.

The days of February 1848 drove the royal family out of the Tuileries, which was once again looted. After being converted into a hospice for war invalids, the palace became an official residence again when Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, President of the Republic, moved in, before being proclaimed emperor on December 2, 1852.

The Tuileries Palace under the Second Empire

The Second Empire made the Tuileries the imperial residence. The parties and ceremonies gave the palace an unequalled lustre. On January 29, 1853, it was the scene of the civil marriage of Emperor Napoleon III and Eugénie de Montijo.

The emperor completed the Grand Dessein desired by Henri IV and pursued by Napoleon by having the Tuileries joined to the Louvre. The buildings and alleys that still separated the Place du Carrousel from the Cour Carrée of the Louvre were destroyed. The architects Visconti and then Lefuel built new buildings on either side of the new space, which was named the Cour Napoléon III. On August 14, 1857, Napoleon III inaugurated the "New Louvre," which was united with the Tuileries Palace. From 1857 to 1871, for the first time, the Tuileries Palace and the Louvre Palace formed a single complex, an "imperial city" in the heart of Paris, the largest and one of the most majestic palaces in Europe.

After the defeat of Sedan, Empress Eugenie left the Tuileries Palace on September 4, 1870, surrounded by riots. She fled through the Pavillon de Flore, from where she passed into the Grande Galerie of the Louvre.

Fire and destruction of the Tuileries Palace

Having become mistress of the place, the Paris Commune (1871) made the Tuileries the scene of parties and concerts: "Communard concerts" were held in the Salon des Maréchaux. The tragedian Agar participated. On May 10, 1871, an artistic evening was organized for the benefit of the wounded of the National Guard. On the 18th, three consecutive concerts took place, attracting a huge crowd.

On May 22 and 23, 1871, the communards Alexis Dardelle, Henri-Marius-Bergeret, Victor Bénot, Etienne Boudin and Madeuf brought into the courtyard five vans loaded with barrels of gunpowder, liquid tar and turpentine which they placed under the peristyle of the central pavilion. On the 23rd, about 30 federates under the orders of Bénot, the butcher's boy, Bergeret and Boudin went through all the apartments of the palace to sprinkle the walls and floors with buckets of oil.

A barrel of gunpowder was placed in the vestibule of the Pavillon de l'Horloge, three at the bottom of the main staircase, while a pile of inflammable materials was stored in the Salon des Maréchaux. The communards coated the altar and the organ of the Chapel with tar and the woodwork of the theater. The fire was lit by Bénot and the whole building was immediately set ablaze. A little before 9 o'clock in the evening, the clock of the palace stopped under the action of the fire. Around 11 o'clock, an explosion shook the central pavilion, leaving the dome in a spray of flames.

The palace burned for three days, and the fire spread to part of the Louvre just before the wickets melted the bronzes, reducing the marbles to dust. Bergeret and his men, after ordering a cold meal, dined on the terrace of the Louvre while contemplating the fire. On May 27, all that remained of the Tuileries were blackened walls. The palace and the Louvre museum, however, were spared by the flames thanks to the obstinacy of a few men.

(1) The "Commune" lasted 72 days, from March 18, 1871 to the "Bloody Week" of May 21-28, 1871. This insurrection refused to recognize the government issued from the National Constituent Assembly (following the abdication of Napoleon III) which had just been elected by universal male suffrage in the parts of the territory, not occupied by the Prussian army. It chose to draft a libertarian type of organization for the city, based on direct democracy, which will give birth to communalism.

Demolition of the Tuileries Palace and its auction

In the early 1870s, the architect Lefuel restored the Pavillon de Flore and rebuilt the Pavillon de Marsan.   As early as 1872, numerous petitions and requests were filed for the restoration of the palace, in its entirety or in its major part. In fact, the building was repairable, since only the floors, the roof and the decorations were completely burned out. Haussmann, Lefuel and Viollet-le-Duc proposed projects to save the ruins or to rebuild a new palace. But the project was jeopardized by the death of Viollet-le-Duc on September 17, 1879, then by the death of Léonce Reynaud on February 14, 1880, and finally by the death of Hector Lefuel on December 26, 1880, all three of whom were experts in favor of reconstruction.

The new architect in charge of the building site, Charles Garnier (the architect of the Opera House of the same name) was, on the contrary, an opponent of the restoration. In his report of May 30, 1881, he mentioned the difficulties of rebuilding the palace: ruins exposed too long to the weather to be preserved, too shallow wings, the need to create cellars against humidity ... and he proposed a new building instead (probably under his authority!).

Despite the fall of the Gambetta government at the end of January 1882, the Chamber of Deputies voted the Proust bill on March 21, 1882 for the destruction of the Tuileries Palace, which was adopted by the Senate on June 28, 1882. Charles Garnier piloted the leveling of the ruins from June 1882 and continued his work after the awarding of the ruins to the contractor Achille Picart on December 4, 1882. On September 30, 1883, nothing remained of the ruins of the Tuileries. Only the Flore and Marsan pavilions remained, as well as two galleries leading to the Louvre's ticket offices. From then on, a vast perspective extended from the Tuileries garden to the Louvre palace, revealing the triumphal arch of the Carrousel.

In 1882, an auction was organized, the architect Charles Garnier having drawn up a plan of the ruins for potential buyers. The State took the care to pre-empt some pieces, in order to preserve publicly some memories. For 33,500 francs, the demolition contractor Achille Picart won the bid, and was responsible for removing the ruins within six months. He did not intend to keep them but to resell them at retail, at a time when big bourgeois and industrialists were buying castles from penniless nobles and taking eclectic architectural elements like others. The architect of the Tuileries, Edmond Guillaume, was in charge of the demolition.

The dispersion of the ruins of the Tuileries Palace

The purchase in "pieces" of the Tuileries Palace was a "worldwide" craze. Stones, pediments, statues were dispersed to decorate other buildings and castles in Paris, in the Paris region, in the provinces and in Corsica as well as abroad. In Quito (Ecuador), on the presidential palace (Carondelet palace) located in Plaza Grande, in the colonial district, some balustrades of the Tuileries palace bought from France adorn the facade. There are also remains at the Villa dei Palmi in Bordighera (Italy). A Corinthian column attached to a part of the wall can be found on the island of Schwanenwerder (en) (Berlin-Wannsee).

Reconstruction projects

Since the destruction of the Tuileries Palace, the idea of a reconstruction of the Louvre and Tuileries palace complex has been put forward several times. In particular, under the Third Republic, then under the Fifth, several governments considered the reconstruction of the palace.

Recently, in 1958, when he was back in power and wanted to leave the Élysée Palace, General de Gaulle also considered rebuilding it and making it the residence of the President of the Republic; he thus commissioned the architect Henry Bernard to think about this project.

Since 2002, a national committee has been working for the reconstruction of the Tuileries. On the other hand, the French Committee for the History of Art, on its side, has been very opposed to the project. So many differences in perspective!

What happened to the arsonists of the Tuileries Palace

Its destruction was the result of an arson attack on May 23, 1871 by the Communards Jules-Henri-Marius Bergeret, Victor Bénot, Alexis Dardelle, Etienne Boudin, Louis Madoff and some others. In fact, it seems that there were about thirty of them.

Jules-Henri-Marius Bergeret, their leader, managed to leave Paris afterwards. Sentenced to death in absentia by the Council of War. He fled to London and then to New York, which he quickly left to go to Jersey, where he created a photography workshop and became a member of the "Society of Republican Socialists who had taken refuge in Jersey". He returned to New York, where he died in 1905 in great poverty.

Victor Bénot, a former soldier, condemned and expelled from the army for selling clothes and "skulduggery", became a butcher's boy, and was elected on March 31, 1871 to the command of his battalion of Communards. He was arrested on 28 May 1871 and executed on 22 January 1873.

Etienne Boudin, also a former soldier, was discharged with a certificate of good conduct and resumed his trade as a carpenter in Paris, where he lived on rue Salneuve (17th district). He even worked in the Tuileries in the Empress' apartments. He became assistant captain of the Tuileries on March 19, 1871, during the Commune. Arrested in a carpentry workshop in Clichy in September, he was accused by witnesses of having ordered the fire, on May 22, during the execution of the pharmacist Koch arrested at his home, rue Richelieu, for having opposed the construction of a barricade. Boudin was also held responsible for the looting of the Louvre and the burning of the Tuileries. He was sentenced to death on February 16, 1872 and, after his appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected, he was shot at Satory military camp.

Alexis Dardelle, frequented mostly cabarets and tried in vain to make a career as a musician and comedian on stages in Montmartre and the suburbs. On March 22, he was appointed governor of the Tuileries with the rank of colonel. He was to make an inventory of the unlooted objects there. On May 6, the Comité de Salut Public ordered his arrest for "misappropriation of art objects and relations with the enemy": the second allegation at least is false, but the signed order sent Dardelle to Mazas prison, from where he was released on May 12 thanks to a certain Rigault and after Courbet's intervention. On May 23, he made the employees still in the Tuileries leave, announcing to them that everything was going to blow up. Once the fire was declared, he joined Bergeret on the terrace of the Louvre to contemplate the fire. He then disappeared from Paris. On February 1, 1879, Alexis Dardelle was in London. He died on May 5, 1888 in Paris.

Madeuf Louis, known as Armand. He was sentenced on August 8, 1867, by the assizes of the Haute-Vienne, to one year in prison for indecent assault, and on January 3, 1870, in Bordeaux (Gironde) to five months and ten francs fine for public indecency.
Under the Paris Commune, he was squadron leader and chief of staff of the governor of the Tuileries. He would have helped to burn the Palace.
He was sentenced in absentia on October 12, 1872, by the 10th council of war, to death. Arrested on March 20, 1875 in Perpignan, his trial on May 19, 1875 led to a life sentence of hard labor. His sentence was then commuted to banishment in 1880 to New Caledonia. He died there on the Ducos peninsula (act drawn up on May 3, 1880).


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  • July 16, 2024 8:59 am local time

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