The Tuileries Palace is the former residence of the Kings and Queens of France and was destroyed in the 19th Century during the Paris Commune. An integral part of Paris’ Historical Axis, the site is bordered by the Tuileries gardens.
The Tuileries Palace in the Historical Axis
The Palace of Tuileries was a royal residence which was located between the Flore and Marsan Pavilions now in the First Arrondissement. It was commissioned by Catherine de Medici in 1564 on the site of a tile factory (hence the French name ‘Tuilerie’ deriving from ‘tuile’ – tile).
The young Louis XIV lived there, as did Napoleon Bonaparte who made the Tuileries the centre of his imperial power. It was severely damaged by a fire during the upheaval of the Paris Commune in 1871. In 1883, the Government resolutely cleared away the ruins, despite the protests of Baron Haussmann and other influent French personalities.
Prior to its destruction, the Palace of the Tuileries played a full role along the Historical Axis as it was its real starting point. Its absence moved the visual start of the axis back to the Cour Napoléon to reveal a deviation of the axis to visitors. For garden architect Le Nôtre planned the axis to run from the Tuileries and its gardens in the 17th century.
The Reconstruction Project of the Tuileries Palace
There is serious debate that the Tuileries will be rebuilt one day. The National Committee for the Reconstruction of the Tuileries is working to that end and the project has a serious chance of succeeding. Many reasons have been put forward to convince the authorities (and the French!) of the benefit of such an operation.
First it would return the royal complex of the Louvre to its former glory, that of “Le Grand Dessein” (the “Great Design”) and allow more exhibition facilities for the rich collections of the museum.
Secondly, since all the furniture and paintings which used to decorate the inside of the Palace still exist today (they were stored in a safe place during the Franco-Prussian War before the 1871 fire), it would be quite simple to return them to their initial location.
If you wish to support the reconstruction of the Tuileries or learn more about the project, visit www.tuileries.org