A building cursed?
The famous Palace of the Tuileries once occupied some prime real estate on the banks of the River Seine in Paris and was the sight of many a bloody confrontation throughout French history. The palace was actually a series of long narrow buildings that formed a major and a minor courtyard. One corner of the buildings eventually joined j the Louvre Museum. Throughout its storied history, the palace was called home by many members of the ruling class of France. Today, all that remain are its famous gardens.
A Brief History
The year is 1476 and good ol’ Charles VI notices a large plot of land just outside the city limits of Paris. It seems the good citizenry of Paris had taken to dumping their trash on the site. Charles figures the land could be put to better use and construction of a large house is begun.
In 1518 Francis I buys the house and the land for his mother. In a typical display of French snobbery, it seems she found her existing royal abode, the Palis des Tournelles in the town of Marais too uncomfortable for her dignified tastes. He demolishes the existing building and construction of a new house is begun.
Along comes Catherine de Medici in 1564. She took up residence and immediately began overhauling and expanding the palace. Rumor has it though that she consulted her fortune teller who advised her that the palace was also occupied by the ghost of one St. Germain. This was all the advice she needed and wound up abandoning the palace and never returned to set foot in it again.
The next inhabitant of note was Henry IV. His main contribution was the addition of art galleries and pavilions which eventually connected the palace to the Louvre.
Events at the palace remained pretty calm until October of 1789. A crowd of women were unhappy about their plight and decided to march on Versailles. Sensing trouble, the royal family abandoned the digs at Versailles and took up residence in the Palace de Tuileries.
It wasn’t too long after that in 1792 that the palace was first attacked by an angry French mob. It seems that they were pissed off at the food and living conditions in and around Paris and sought redress by storming the palace. They were turned away, but not for long….
Later in the same year another angry mob descended on the palace. This time they were more successful. They wound up massacring over 600 guards assigned to protect the palace. It seems they were also looking for the royal family but they had already bolted from town. Many of the guards bodies were dragged off and kept as souvenirs.
I guess things calmed down once again and in 1808 Napoleon Bonaparte began the construction of another gallery to connect to the Louvre. In addition to some other general repairs, Napoleon deemed that the palace would be the official home of the first consul Once the repairs were finished, the palace became the chief residence to the king and other members of the royal family.
The next period of violence at the palace occurred in 1830. The palace was once again attacked and this time occupied by pissed off Parisians. They were appeased by promises made by the royal family about improving their social conditions and returned the property to the royalty. They lived there until 1848 when…..
You guessed it. Another invasion by an angry mob took place. In a typical display of French bravery, (and possibly remembering what had occurred to their fellow guards some years before) the guards that were charged with defending the palace abandoned their posts. The palace was never again used a royal residence. Later that same year a decree was issued (although never enforced) that the palace was now to become a home for invalid workers. It later served as a hospital for rebels during the revolution of 1848.
It wasn’t until 1871 that the Palace de Tuileries met its fiery end. In keeping with the French tradition of storming things, a clash erupted between the citizenry and the government and the palace was burned to the ground. The remains of the building were left untouched for 12 years before they were finally disposed off and the gardens expanded.