The Elysée Palace

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Palais de l'Elysée

The Elysée, which stands between the prestigious rue Saint Honoré and the Champs-Élysées, has not always been the home of the French President. The private residence was originally designed for the Count of Evreux by architect Armand-Claude Mollet in 1720. The grand cour d’honneur on the Saint Honoré side and the French gardens on the Champs-Élysées side gave the house the prestige the Count desired and it rapidly became known as the ‘the most beautiful house in Paris’. 

 

From the Hôtel du Comte d’Evreux to the Elysée Palace

After the Count passed away in 1753, the house had several owners, including Louis XV’s favourite, the Marquise de Pompadour, who left it to the King when she died. Nicolas Beaujon, Louis XVI, the Duchess of Bourbon, Napoléon I and his nephew Napoléon III all also lived there. Every new owner made alterations to the building and several rooms, stairways and halls are named after them in tribute. The last major renovations were carried out by Napoléon Ist’s brother-in-law Joachim Murat, the Marshal of France. Murat restored the building with Barthélémy Vignon (architect of the Madeleine) and turned the house into a Palace by adding a ball room and a banquet hall. The Palace was renamed Elysée-National by order of the National Assembly after the fall of the Empire in 1848 and has been the official residence of all the Presidents of France ever since. 

 

Visiting the palace

The Palace is open during the European Heritage Days offering the public the opportunity to see important symbolic rooms such as the President’s office, the reception rooms and halls, as well as the historical items such as the large Master of the Légion d'honneur neck chain and various gifts brought back from state trips abroad. It is also a wonderful opportunity to see the palace’s half-moon garden which the Duchesse de Bourron transformed into a landscaped garden.