The Élysée Palace is is the seat of the Presidency of the French Republic and the official residence of the Head of State since the Second Republic of France. Located at No.55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, The Élysée Palace contains the presidential office and residency, is also the meeting place of the Council of Ministers, the weekly meeting of the Government of France presided over by the President of the Republic. With its reception rooms, library, dining room and garden, the Élysée Palace is an architectural masterpiece that can only be visited on European Heritage Days. Important foreign visitors are hosted at the nearby Hôtel de Marigny, a palatial residence.
The Elysée is a 300 year old palace which has an illustrious history. A place of the collective memory of the Republic, it is also a space that lives every day to the rhythm of the President of the Republic and the 800 people who work alongside it.
Built by the architect Armand-Claude Mollet in 1720 for Louis-Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Count of Évreux. Completed in 1722, it was built for nobleman and army officer Louis Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, who had been appointed Governor of Île-de-France in 1719. The Marquise de Pompadour made the Élysée Palace her Parisian home before bequeathing it to Louis XV.
From owner to owner, this majestic residence has continued to evolve. It took the name Élysée from 1797 onwards, after the name of the nearby promenade. It was during this period that the Duchess of Bourbon rented out the ground floor and allowed the tenant to organize dances in the reception rooms and garden.
The palace has been the home of personalities such as Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764), Nicolas Beaujon (1718–1786), Bathilde d’Orléans (1750–1822), Joachim Murat (1767–1815) and Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry (1778–1820). In 1753, the palace then became the princely palace of Joachim Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon I. The latter made it his imperial residence in 1805. His nephew, Napoleon III, first President of the French Republic, also lived there from 1848.
On 12 December 1848 under the Second Republic the French Parliament passed a law declaring the building the official residence of the President of France. The media use by metonymy “the Élysée” to designate the services of the presidency of the French Republic. Its current resident is Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic since May 14, 2017.
The virtual tour of Élysée Palace unveiled since European Heritage Days 2020, the virtual tour of the Élysée Palace allows visitors to enjoy an interactive, fun and 360° exploration of the palace. This completely new device is accompanied by many anecdotes about the fairs and the works of art exhibited there. However, if you are visiting from a remote location, you will need to wait a bit for the program to load.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Paris was in full expansion, and many mansions were built in the suburbs. The architect Armand-Claude Mollet, future architect of Louis XV, was commissioned by the Count of Évreux to build him a pleasure residence. Work on what would later become the Élysée Palace began in 1718 and was completed in 1722.
In 1753, the Marquise de Pompadour, favorite of King Louis XV, acquired the mansion. She only lived there occasionally, spending most of her time at Versailles, and bequeathed the palace to the king on his death in 1764. The king then made it the temporary seat of the Crown furniture store. After a few ups and downs, the hotel was bought in 1787 by the king’s cousin, the Duchess of Bourbon. It is from the name of “Hôtel de Bourbon” or “Élysée-Bourbon”, given to it at that time, that its current name comes from.
The building emerges intact from the turmoil of the Revolution of 1789, and knows various assignments, as residence of private individuals, seat of the Commission of the sending of the laws and the Printing office of the bulletin of the laws or even national deposit of furniture coming from the seizures emigrants or convicts.
At the dawn of the 19th century, the palace became the property of Prince Joachim Murat, husband of Caroline and brother-in-law of Napoleon I. In 1808, Prince Murat was named King of Naples and ceded all of his properties in France to Napoleon I, including the palace, which then took the name of “Élysée-Napoléon”.
The Emperor decided to settle there in February 1809, and lived there for two months, until his departure for the Austrian campaign on 13 April. He returned there in 1812 and until June 22, 1815, when he signed his abdication in the silver boudoir. Thereafter, the Élysée became the residence of foreign princes and aristocrats during their stay in Paris.
In 1816, the palace returned to the possessions of the Crown. King Louis XVIII attributed it to his nephew, the Duke of Berry, on the occasion of his marriage to Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Siciles. Four years later, the new King Louis-Philippe took possession of it and made it the residence of foreign guests from France visiting Paris until 1848.
After the Revolution of 1848 and the establishment of the Second Republic, the Élysée Palace became the residence of the newly elected President of the Republic: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of Emperor Napoleon I. He undertook a complete renovation of the palace, which resulted in the layout of the rooms that we know today. In 1852, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor under the name of Napoleon III. He decides to settle in the Palais des Tuileries.
After a period of political turmoil, the establishment of the Third Republic made the Élysée Palace the official residence of the Head of State. The first to settle there was President Patrice de Mac Mahon in 1874. From 1940 to 1946, the palace was abandoned by the Head of State and only regained its presidential function under the mandate of President Vincent Auriol (1947-1954).
It became the nerve center of power under the Fifth Republic, with the coming to power of General de Gaulle in 1958, which made the presidential institution the main arbiter of French political life.
The Élysée Palace and its grounds are situated at 55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré at its intersection with Avenue de Marigny. The palace has two main entrances: the main entrance is located rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, the other, the Grille du Coq, is at the end of the park. The grand entrance leads into the main courtyard, and from there into the palace and the main vestibule. This is divided into a main building (the original former “hôtel d’Évreux”) of three levels (including the attic) flanked by two wings (East and West), respectively of two and only one level, sinking into the park, and outbuildings surrounding the main courtyard.
A monumental gate with four Ionic order columns, flanked by walls topped by a balustrade, opens onto a large rounded courtyard. The majestic ceremonial courtyard imparts a degree of grandeur to the house. The main residence is constructed in the French neo-classical style. An entrance vestibule is aligned with the ceremonial courtyard and gardens.
There is a long central building, a State apartment divided in the middle by a large salon that opens into the garden. This building also has a central three-storey section, and two single-floor wings: the Appartement des Bains to the right, and the Petit Appartement (private apartments) to the left. The French-style garden has a central path aligned with the central building, patterned flowerbeds and alleys of chestnut trees edged with hedgerows.
The body of the building (or main building) is still called “hôtel d’Évreux”.
The ground floor of the main building has a purely official function, hosting state rooms used for receptions and meetings with foreign guests or for the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Vestibule of honor
Entrance to the Élysée Palace visible from the courtyard, the vestibule of honor is a place familiar to the French. In its sober decor, one element stands out: a monumental sculpture in white marble entitled Hommage à la Révolution de 1789, commissioned by President François Mitterrand in 1984 from the artist Arman. Installed here on the occasion of the bicentenary of the revolution, it recalls its founding role for the French political system.
The main vestibule, paved with white Carrara marble and Belgian royal red, is adorned with Doric pilasters. President François Mitterrand installed a sculpture by Arman there in 1984, named To the French Republic and made up of 200 white marble flags with gilded bronze poles; President Vincent Auriol will install candelabras with sixteen bronzed lights made by Phierre-Philippe Thomire for the Royal Manufacture of Montcenis. It is lit by a gilded bronze chandelier with 30 lights.
It is in this vestibule overlooking the main courtyard that the President of the Republic welcomes distinguished guests and foreign Heads of State. Access to the main courtyard has huge glass doors, desired by Michelle Auriol (in the past, there was a glass roof instead).
The Murat staircase was built, as its name suggests by Joachim Murat, in 1806, no ceremonial staircase existing at the time to go upstairs. Built by the architects Barthélémy Vignon and Jean-Thomas Thibault, it sinks into the east wall of the vestibule of honor and leads to the antechamber of the office of the President of the Republic.
The ramps are decorated with golden wooden palms, symbols of victory, and on the landing stands a statue of Rodin, La Défense, made in 1879 and symbolizing the French resistance during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. On the walls of the staircase has been hung since 1811 a canvas, L’Europe, by François Dubois.
The Cléopâtre salon is the former dressing room of Madame de Pompadour, then of the Duchess of Bourbon and of Napoleon I; it was then fitted out as an office for Napoleon III. It owes its name to a tapestry depicting the meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, based on a design by Charles Natoire, depicts the love at first sight between the Roman emperor and the Egyptian queen.
Located at the northeast corner of the main building, it is now only a place of passage between the various ceremonial rooms of the palace. Most of its decor, dating back to when it was Nicolas Beaujon ‘s “green room”, was completely renovated in 1992. It owes its name to the Gobelins tapestry on the west wall representing The meeting between Antoine and Cleopatrain Tarsus. It was made by the Audran workshop between 1759 and 1761 after a cartoon painted in 1756 by Charles-Joseph Natoire (currently exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Nîmes) and commissioned in 1740 by Philibert Orry, director of the Buildings of the King, part of a series of seven compositions illustrating the Life of Antoine.
On the floor is a carpet woven in 2005 by the Manufacture Nationale de la Savonnerie from an original cartoon made during the reign of Louis XVI and using the composition of the one that originally decorated the room at the end of the 18th century. The room is also decorated with a portrait of the Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria (the elder sister of Queen Marie-Antoinette), painted in pastel in 1767 by an anonymous painter. Like the Salon des portraits, this salon will be fully restored in the fall of 2019.
Salon of Portraits
Nicolas Beaujon ‘s muses room, Madame de Pompadour ‘s music room then Napoleon I ‘s study, Napoleon III decided to dedicate the room to the most important sovereigns of the time, all represented by a medallion portrait (thus replacing those of the imperial family originally installed by Murat): Pope Pius IX, Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph I, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland Victoria, King of Italy Victor-Emmanuel II, the Tsar of Russia Nicolas I, the king of Prussia Frédéric-Guillaume IV, the queen of Spain Isabella II and the king of Württemberg Guillaume I. The room has retained its white and gold woodwork decorated with dragons made between 1720 and 1721 for the Count of Évreux.
The lounge, located at the southeast corner of the main building and overlooking the palace garden, hosted the Council of Ministers under the 2nd and 3rd Republics before becoming between 1947 and 2007 a small dining room allowing the reception of a dozen guests and finally, under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, a summer office for the Head of State. As a result, modern furniture commissioned by the State from the architects Chaix and Morel in 1997 was installed, thus blending into the general decor dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. centuries. On this occasion, the so-called “Polylobes” rug (500 x 375 cm) was also installed there, woven in 1999 by the Manufacture de la Savonnerie based on a design by the neoclassical -inspired decorator Emilio Terry. His successor, François Hollande, did not keep this transformation and a Restoration period carpet made at the Aubusson factory for the Duke of Angoulême from drawings by Jacques-Louis de la Hamayde de Saint-Ange is there now.
Former parade room of the various owners in the 17th and 18th centuries, from the Count of Évreux to Napoleon I, it was particularly modified by Madame de Pompadour who transformed the large original rectangular alcove framing the old bed into a semi-circular one. -circular. On this occasion, she also installed a pair of Duplessis sconces in gilt bronze and porcelain, made in 1756 at the Manufacture de Sèvres, which has been kept in the Louvre since 1985. Reduced under Muratto a simple niche to allow the construction of the grand staircase, it is from this alcove, of which only the columns and pilasters remain, that the room took its name from “Salon de l’Hémicycle”. République and the total disappearance of the niche during the presidency of Vincent Auriol in order to fit out an elevator there for the changing rooms.
A medallion representing the marquise made by François-Hubert Drouais in 1743 is located between the windows overlooking the park, also testifying to the modifications made by Madame de Pompadour.
On the wall hangs a 17th century tapestry made in Amiens from a cartoon by Simon Vouet. Ellie depicts a passage from the Old Testament, where Elijah is taken up to heaven on a chariot of fire before Elisha. The carpet that adorns the room, commissioned by King Louis XV for the Château de Compiègne, was made by the Manufacture de la Savonnerie. The furniture is entirely from the Louis XV and Louis XVI period. It includes a chest of drawers in kingwood marquetry made by Pierre Migeon, on which is placed a white marble bust of Queen Marie-Antoinette attributed to Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1759) as well as a sofa and armchairs with violin backs and curved legs covered in blue and gold damask decorated with fruit exotic. The overdoors, painted under Napoleon III by Charles Chaplin, depict four Roman goddesses, Diana, Venus, Juno and Minerva.
After having served ephemerally as one of the meeting places of the Council of Ministers under the Fourth Republic, the Pompadour lounge is used by the President to grant audiences to distinguished guests and more rarely dinners, such as that of François Mitterrand. with European Heads of State, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 18, 1989.
Salon des Ambassadeurs
Former large reception room of Joachim Murat then Napoleon III located in the extension of the vestibule of honor and overlooking the garden, President Mac Mahon introduced the tradition for the Head of State to receive credentials there. foreign ambassadors appointed to France, hence its name. The tradition of the President of the Republic receiving ambassadors in this salon in his jacket continued until Georges Pompidou. It can also serve as a setting for certain official receptions, and hosted certain meetings of the Council of Ministers under the IV thRepublic. It was also the scene of several investiture ceremonies for the President of the Republic. Since 2014 and the formation of the first government of Manuel Valls, the Council of Ministers has been held in this room.
Its decoration, of military inspiration, is that of origin, such as carried out for the count of Évreux by Michel Lange according to Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The mirrors and overdoors were added in 1773 by Étienne-Louis Boullée for Nicolas Beaujon. The furniture in the room includes several remarkable pieces: a bronze equestrian statuette of the Roman emperor Marc Aurelius after that of the Capitol in Rome as well as a chiseled and gilded bronze clock taking up the mythological theme of the fall of Phaeton. This pendulum, due to Romain, has the particularity of indicating the months, the lunations and the position of the signs of the Zodiac from its 24-hour dial, painted by Dubuisson and representing a starry sky.
The furniture is essentially made up of seats upholstered in blue and cream lampas with the motif of the four parts of the world, referring to the diplomatic function of the room. They are stamped Georges Jacob with the exception of two canopies made by Jean-Baptiste Boulard. The carpet, also woven by the Manufacture de la Savonnerie from 1994, was installed under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.
During the summer of 2011, major works were undertaken in the Ambassadors’ lounge. Following this restoration, the furniture remains unchanged, with the exception of the blue curtains. These, placed under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, had replaced cream curtains installed during François Mitterrand’s stay.
Salon des Aides-de-camp
Used for a few official lunches and dinners when the number of guests does not exceed 23, the Salon des aides de camp houses a carpet that survived from the Tuileries Palace (which was in the throne room of Napoleon I, hence the presence of the imperial bees at the four corners, while the eagle appearing in the medallion was replaced at the Restoration by fleur-de-lys and the cipher of Louis XVIII). This salon receives its name under the First Empire in homage to Napoleon’s aides-de-camp such as Claude-François de Murat, theMarquis de Caulaincourt or General Jean-Andoche Junot.
The fireplace in the room is a copy of the one located at the Palace of Versailles, in the bedroom of King Louis XIV. On the fireplace is a clock with a revolving dial called the ram’s clock because of its decoration representing a ram’s head and a bunch of grapes. It adorned the presidential office during the mandate of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
The overall decor has retained its original appearance, dating from the Count of Évreux. This adjoining room overlooks the garden to the south, the Salon des Ambassadeurs to the east and the Salon Murat to the west. Framed by woodwork, the paintings, made by Charles Landelle for the Emperor Napoleon III, represent allegories of the four elements, peace and discord.
Originally a large reception room by Joachim Murat formed from a small chapel and dining room by Nicolas Beaujon at the west end of the main building. Entirely remodeled in 1807 when the Murats arrived, this room was designed as the main reception room of the palace. Its vast space, formed by the meeting of two rooms, was then decorated with a prestigious military decor, following the vogue of the Empire, consisting of five paintings. Three of them are still there.
the living room is adorned with two canvases by Carle Vernet in l honor of the brother-in-law of Napoleon I and representing respectively the castle of Benrath (located on the banks of the Rhine near Düsseldorf, official residence of Murat as Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves in 1806) and Murat and his cavalry crossing the Tiber, during theItalian campaign. The view of Rome was produced by Vernet and Joseph Bidault while that of Benrath was by Vernet Alexandre Dunouy.
The decor also includes a painting by Dunouy representing Trajan’s column (which served as a model for the Vendôme column built in honor of the victories of the Napoleonic armies) placed between the two windows overlooking the park. The room measures approximately 100 m2, identical dimensions since the transformation carried out by Murat.
The room is also furnished, on the courtyard side, with a console with porcelain columns imitating lapis lazuli. Made from designs by Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, it was commissioned in 1821 by King Louis XVIII from the Sèvres factory for his Château de Saint-Cloud. It supports a pendulum with Sèvres porcelain decorations representing the main Parisian clocks. Made by Robin between 1841 and 1842 for King Louis-Philippe and decorated by Jean-Charles Develly, it was installed at the Élysée at the end of the 19th century. There are represented the clock of the Palais de la Cité, the sundial of the Louvre as well as the clock of the Hôtel de Ville.
On December 10, 1848, the Salon Murat served as a polling station for the presidential election. Under the Second Empire, it lost its role as a reception room in favor of a ballroom built in its extension, and was used above all for the presentation of guests to the imperial and presidential couple (a function it still holds today during the organization of large State dinners in the neighboring village hall).
Under the Fourth Republic, it was one of the meeting places for the Council of Ministers with the Salon des Ambassadeurs and that of the Hemicycle (current Pompadour salon), then the only room in the palace devoted to this task since Georges Pompidou. in 1969, every Wednesday morning, the President of the Republic facing the Prime Minister, the ministers, the Secretary General of the Elysée Palace and the Secretary General of the Governmentcome together to manage the affairs of the state.
The Council table occupies practically the entire length of the room, on which is placed in its center, between the Head of State and the Head of Government, a portable clock called “travel”, in yellow copper, in the shape of safe, so both can read the time at the same time. The council generally begins at 10 a.m., once the president has been announced aloud by a bailiff (“Mr. President of the Republic!”). Each minister has in his place a desk blotter and a name card. In 1963, the Chancellor of the FRG Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle signed the Élysée Treaty there. Having rediscovered its vocation as a reception room, this lounge has, since 2017, presented a modern carpet by the artist Sylvie Fajfrowska.
This salon, located between the main vestibule and the Murat salon, takes its name from the three tapestries from the 17th and 18th centuries, installed there by President Félix Faure and telling the story of the Roman general Scipio Africanus, who defeated the Carthaginian Hannibal Barca in the Second Punic War. Its woodwork, which constitutes the main part of the living room’s wall decoration, was renovated in 1991 in order to better highlight these hangings and was covered with a warm bronze-based patina on this occasion. The Aubusson rug in Savonnerie stitchand the 36-light chandelier in gilded bronze and Bohemian crystals are both from the Restoration period.
Today, this reception and passage room no longer contains tapestries. Often remodeled, this transitional space retains its original purpose but was completely restored during the summer of 2018 and now houses paintings by Simon Hantaï from the Center Pompidou collections.
It serves above all as a place of reception and passage for the guests to the State dinners held in the village hall who are waiting there to be presented to the presidential couple in the Murat lounge, but also as a waiting room for the visitors received in audience in one of the other ceremonial rooms on the ground floor. Ministers cross it to go to the Council of Ministers every Wednesday morning.
Access to the first floor is by several staircases, essentially the grand Murat staircase from the vestibule of honor leading to the two antechambers which serve the offices of the President of the Republic and his main collaborators, fitted out in the former apartments of Empress Eugénie de Montijo which served entirely as private presidential apartments under the Third Republic before being assigned, under the name of “royal apartments” under the Fourth, to foreign State guests of the Republic.
Places of obligatory passage before accessing the Green Salon (meeting place) and from this place to the Golden Salon (official office of the President of the Republic), these two rooms follow on from the large Murat staircase. They are located on the site of the private accommodation of the presidents of the Third Republic, which became, under the Fourth Republic, “royal apartments” intended to accommodate foreign heads of state on official visits.
In the first are a sculpture of a samurai offered to President Jacques Chirac as well as a gallery of portraits of Presidents of the Fifth Republic who are now deceased: that of Charles de Gaulle is by Roger Chapelain-Midy and those of Georges Pompidou and Francois Mitterrand de Hucleux. Since 1989 there has also been the work Lugdus by Isabelle Waldberg, from the National Fund for Contemporary Art. After his installation at the Élysée, Emmanuel MacronA few pieces of modern furniture have also been added: a rug by Christian Bonnefoi as well as a sofa and two armchairs by Éric Jourdan for the Cinna brand.
The second is adorned with an Empire style mahogany and bronze desk, gilded wooden seats with blue trimmings and armrests in the shape of winged busts and decorated with lyres and heads of Minerva. On the walls are exhibited two Gobelins tapestries depicting a scene from Don Quixote. They are part of the three tapestries of the “tapestry of the story of Don Quixote” after Charles Coypel commissioned in 1749 by Louis XV for the Château de Marly, the third being hung in the presidential office.
Office of the Chief of Staff
This small corner office, located to the northwest of the floor, is just after the second antechamber.
Old dining room or corner lounge
Private dining room of the Presidents of the Republic until 1958, at the south-west corner of the floor, Charles de Gaulle held the meetings of the Council of Ministers there before these moved, and this, until today, in the Murat salon on the ground floor from the presidency of Georges Pompidou. Four windows overlook the park on the one hand, the avenue de Marigny and the roof of the village hall on the other.
In 2007, the secretary general of the Élysée, Claude Guéant decided to make it his office. His successors did the same and the room was then occupied by Jean-Pierre Jouyet.
Green living room
Designed as Empress Eugénie ‘s dining room, the decor of the room is due to the collaboration of the painter Jean-Louis Godon and the sculptor Ovide Savreux, hired by Napoleon III to decorate the first floor of the palace. The room takes its name from the green color of the woodwork.
It is in this salon that Gaston Doumergue civilly marries Jeanne Graves theJune 1, 1931, twelve days before the end of his seven-year term, during a ceremony chaired by the mayor of the 8th arrondissement of Paris, Gaston Drucker. Office of the aides-de-camp under Charles de Gaulle, adjacent to his own, and obligatory passage to access the Doré room from the second antechamber, a device possibly made it possible to record the telephone conversations of the president with foreign heads of state. Then became a meeting room, it was assigned by François Mitterrand to his special adviser Jacques Attali. Jacques Chirac is turning it into a meeting place where he notably prepares his trips abroad and his speeches.
During Nicolas Sarkozy ‘s term as President of the Republic, it was used for the daily working meetings of the Head of State’s main collaborators, and more generally for any meeting in the latter’s presence. The Defense Council and the Restricted Councils of Ministers also meet there. An oval table, covered with a green carpet and fawn desk pads, is permanently set up there. A table with griffins is also present; it is the office of René Coty. The clock placed on the fireplace in this living room represents the Roman goddess Minerva, goddess of war and wisdom.
February 2, 2008, for the second time, the Salon Vert welcomes within its walls the marriage of a President of the Republic in office: Nicolas Sarkozy marries the singer Carla Bruni there during a civil ceremony presided over by the mayor of the 8th arrondissement of Paris, Francois Lebel. Only a few guests were invited to the presidential wedding.
Endowed with a central role, both by its location in the heart of the Elysée and by its function, the golden room hosts the office of the President of the Republic.
Originally Madame de Pompadour ‘s grand salon, a large room located in the center of the building with a view of the park, the Golden Salon was decorated in 1861 by Ovide Savreux (sculpture) and Jean-Louis Godon (paintings) for the Empress Eugénie who uses it as a bedroom. It is notably decorated with Gobelins tapestries, especially that of the Muses and a Second Empire chandelier with 56 lights in gilded bronze and rock crystals.
The overdoors represent an intertwined N and E, monogram of Napoleon IIIand his wife, Empress Eugenie. On this occasion, a four-poster bed covered in green damask from the Lyon house of Mathevon and Bouvard, made in 1867 in the Louis XVI style, is installed in the room. The roof of the bed is covered with the monogram “E” carried by two cherubs, like those found above the door in the room. 4 meters long, it left the palace after the Second Empire and is currently kept at the Château de Compiègne.
Charles de Gaulle, once he became President of the Republic, chose this vast room to make it his office and had furniture installed there including the Louis XV desk in kingwood, a masterpiece made in the 18th century, Louis XIV carpet from theManufacture de la Savonnerie with the main theme “Triumphant Love” made from drawings by Charles Le Brun to adorn the Grande Galerie du Louvre. Cressent’s desk had entered the furniture of the palace in 1885 at the request of President Félix Faure who had placed it in his office on the ground floor of the east wing (in the current library).
The furniture underwent a first transformation between 1988 and 1995 at the instigation of François Mitterrand: he entrusted this task in December 1983 to the designer Pierre Paulin, who had already transformed three rooms on the ground floor of the wing. Is, in the private apartments, for Georges Pompidou in 1971-1972. The set then produced includes 21 pieces of furniture in a predominantly blue tone with red aluminum edging: a flat desk and its technical console, a coffee table, a living room with six armchairs and a sofa, a work chair, four visitor armchairs, three pedestal tables, a low cabinet about three meters long, an easel and a television cabinet.
Before his departure from the presidency in 1995, François Mitterrand put the original furniture back in place and donated the Paulin set to the Mobilier national.
Upon his arrival at the Élysée in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy installed in his office a Louis XVI style caned armchair dating from the 19th century, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which his successor François Hollande kept.
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Emmanuel Macron have not made the living room their daily office. They preferred the Salon d’Angle to him, usually assigned to the chief of staff. The Doré room, however, serves as a “ceremonial office” for the official photograph of the Head of State in 2017.
Former “King’s bedroom”
Former room of Heads of State hosting the Presidency of the Republic until 1958, it was fitted out in 1949 by the decorator André Arbus. It has traditionally served as the office of the Secretary General of the Élysée since then, until 2007, when Claude Guéant, Secretary General of the Élysée decided to move to the Salon d’Angle. The room currently houses the secretariat of the President of the Republic.
Former “Queen’s bedroom”
Office located at the southeast corner of the floor, it has been assigned since 1958 to the director of the president’s cabinet, with the exception of 1974 to 1981 when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing occupies it himself, and between 2007 and 2012, where he was assigned to Nicolas Sarkozy ‘s special adviser, Henri Guaino.
This room then served as a desk for Aquilino Morelle, political adviser to François Hollande, from 2012 to April 2014. by the cabinetmaker of the CrownJean-Henri Riesener. Emmanuel Macron in turn decides to make the old bedroom his presidential office and redecorates room. He installed a concrete office there, made by Francesco Passaniti for the Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and which was lent by the Mobilier national to President Jacques Chirac after his departure from the Élysée in 2007 before returning to the national collections in 2015.
A large Knoll marble table, chairs created by the French designer Patrick Jouin in 2004, a rug from the Savonnerie deClaude Lévêque entitled Soleil noir and representing diamonds woven between 2005 and 2007, a tapestry entitled Lavande by the Belgian painter Pierre Alechinsky (woven by the Beauvais factory in wool, cotton and silk, it measures 2.94 m by 2.99 m) and a Marianne by American street artist Shepard Fairey.
Originally Empress Eugénie de Montijo ‘s private bathroom, this room has not lost its original Second Empire decor (notably its many mirrors) and its bathtub has simply been covered with a bench seat. Inspired by a bathroom in the Château de Fontainebleau, this decor was created in 1861 by Charles Chaplin, who painted the ice paintings on the wall panels and overdoors on the theme of the bath, flowers, fruit or skating. His collaborator, the painter Jean-Louis Godon produced the decorative painting there. Very much in love with his wife,. Transformed into a boudoir serving, from Charles de Gaulle, as an antechamber to the private apartments, it was assigned in 2007 to Catherine Pgard, adviser to the President of the Republic in charge of the “political pole”. At the northeast corner of the floor, it is located between the former “Queen’s bedroom” and the access to the private apartments.
The attics were first converted into private apartments for the King of Rome at the end of the First Empire. They are restored and reworked by the interior designer Alberto Pinto at the request of Bernadette Chirac to make a private space of 130 m 2 serving as a new living space (replacing the first floor of the East wing) for the couple presidential office, also occasionally occupied by their daughter Claude Chirac and his son Martin. Nicolas Sarkozy also took over on his own, that of his wives Cécilia then Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and of his youngest son Louis, the “apartments of the King of Rome” when he stayed at the palace (usually at weekends). In 2012, the office of the chief of staff was installed in the attic.
The eastern wing of the palace, L-shaped and framing the small French-style garden or Private Garden of the President, is traditionally devoted to the private apartments of the presidential couple, with on the ground floor rooms primarily for reception or semi-functional -official, and upstairs the places used for the residence of the presidential couple strictly speaking.
Starting from the “Salon Cléopâtre”, to the north overlooking the main courtyard, is the chapel. This was fitted out under Napoleon III by the architect Lacroix. It was decorated in 1864 by the painter Sébastien-Melchior Cornu in the neo-Byzantine style for an estimate of 20,000 francs. The latter made there a medallion representing the head of Christ, placed above the altar, two figures of angels bearing the sacraments (one holding a host, the other a chalice) serving as an overdoor. as well as twelve full-length figures representing the principal founders of Christianity in Gaul then inFrance (including Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Pothin, Saint Symphorien, Sainte Geneviève, Saint Louis, Saint Denis, Saint Remy, Sainte Blandine and Saint Charlemagne) placed at the bottom of niche . The stained glass windows were made by the Laurent et Gsell workshop and the decorative sculpture by Ovide Savreux.
This chapel was remodeled in 1950 at the request of President Vincent Auriol in order to free up new spaces for offices. Much smaller in size than that made in 1860 (it only measures 15 m2), Cornu’s works were then removed there to be transferred to the Louvre Museum. The room is lit by a window overlooking the main courtyard of the palace.
In 1959, General de Gaulle had it furnished at his own expense with an altar, five chairs, five kneelers, a cupboard, a painting by Pierre Peress representing the head of Christ, a painting of Our Lady of Chad, a Virgin from La Salettein wood as well as a bronze plaque representing the Black Madonna of Czestochowa offered by the Polish bishops during De Gaulle’s visit to their country. After his departure from the Élysée in 1969, he recovered this furniture which belonged to him and offered it to his nephew, Father François de Gaulle. The room was restored by Bernadette Chirac in 1997, in anticipation of the visit of Pope John Paul II, who however did not have time to come and meditate there. Since 2007, the room has served as a waiting room for visitors having an appointment with the first lady.
First private salon of Napoleon III, this room is also called “cartography salon”, because it is decorated with three hangings representing a map of the forest of Compiègne. It served as an office for some of the President’s staff until 1958, then was integrated into the private apartments as a small lounge, or “antechamber” in the apartment redevelopment project undertaken by the Pompidou couple from 1971.
The transformation of this room is entrusted to the visual artist Yaacov Agam who applies the principles of kinetic art to it, in particular through the carpet woven specially at the Manufacture de la Savonnerie from one of his cartoons and creates what is called the Agam lounge. All of Agam’s contemporary transformations as well as paintings by Max Ernst and designer furniture will then be sent by Georges Pompidou ‘s successor, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, to the Center national d’art et de culture Georges-Pompidouand the piece regains its original appearance.
During the presidency of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the living room was decorated with maps of Africa and the Middle East. The piece of furniture that was there during François Hollande’s stay is from the Louis XVI period, made by Jean-Henri Riesener and from the Hôtel de la Marine. Redecorated by Brigitte Macron with modern furniture, this living room features a sofa and armchairs by Andrée Putman, a rug by André-Pierre Arnal and a console table by Jean-Michel Wilmotte.
Second private salon of Napoleon III, the salon was used until 1954 by the head of the military house of the Presidency of the Republic, before being used as an office by René Coty to replace the neighboring library. It is located opposite the small French garden of the palace. Since 2007, this room has been used as the office of the spouse of the President of the Republic. Currently occupied by Madame Macron, the layout of this office skilfully combines classic and contemporary works.
The hangings on the walls, whose fern motifs gave its name to the living room, is a reissue of a lampas made by the silky Lyonnais Camille Pernon in 1785 for the bedroom of King Louis XVI in Compiègne. The living room is furnished with contemporary pieces, including the office, designed by Matali Crasset. This desk illustrates the two movements of thought: its central part in leather, refined, is dedicated to concentration and thought. The wooden side compartments, which accommodate computer tools and files, are used for the formatting and concrete application of ideas.
In 1971, it was, under the name of “salon des Tableaux”, entrusted by the Pompidou couple to be entirely redecorated by the designer Pierre Paulin. As its name suggests, it should above all be used to exhibit canvases of modern and contemporary art specially chosen by Georges and Claude Pompidou: a Robert Delaunay surrounded by two Kupkas taken from the National Museum of Modern Art, placed on the wall from the back and illuminated by spotlights embedded in the ceiling. The other walls are hung with pieces of fabric decorated with boards by Henri Matisse, Roger de La Fresnaye and Albert Marquet. The furniture includes four armchairs and four sofas (two two-seater and two three-seater) with metal structures and upholstered in upturned leather and two kinds of low tables with transparent and smoked tempered glass top resting on an aluminum base covered with “nextel” (projected paint based on polyester microbeads used in particular for the cabins of the Apollo program) light chamois.
Again, the arrival of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing at the Élysée in 1974 put an end to this transformation: the decor was dismantled and sent to the Château de Pierrefonds. The abstract canvases are rather replaced by impressionist, symbolist or decorative works, the Giscard d’Estaing retaining in particular a Picasso of the pink period, a watercolor by Gustav Klimt or a Caillebotte. Nowadays, also known as the “salon des Fougères” because of its flowery hangings, it houses three paintings by Hubert Robert (an 18th century painter century) that previously adorned François Mitterrand’s bedroom. This is View of a Park. The water jet, Interior of Roman park and Landscape. La Cascade, arrived at the palace in 1979, 1993 and 1998 respectively. The room is also decorated with a portrait of Louis XV by Louis Michel Van Loo.
Since 2007, the room has been the main workspace of the First Lady of France. Cécilia Sarkozy occupied it briefly, until her divorce. Nicolas Sarkozy’s new wife, Carla Bruni, used it in turn, before being imitated by Valérie Trierweiler, partner of François Hollande, from 2012. When the latter separated two years later, the room was used occasionally as a dining room.
After the installation of her husband as President of the Republic in 2017, Brigitte Macron brought tradition up to date and made the living room her office.A lover of contemporary art, the new first lady introduced artists such as Christian Jaccard and Éric Jourdan to the palace. The room is thus furnished with a desk and a chair by Matali Crasset while, on the fireplace, two lamps by Coralie Beauchamp replace a gilded bronze clock.
Also known as the “old Beaujon room” for having been the bedroom (hence the semicircular shape inherited from the old alcove) of Nicolas Beaujon then of the Duchess of Bourbon, Caroline Murat, Napoleon I, the Duke de Berry and finally Napoleon III. Having just been installed at the Élysée as prince-president, the latter had the painting Venice, view of the Grand Canal and the Salute, painted in 1849 by the painter Jules-Romain Joyant (currently kept at the Paul Dini Museum, in Villefranche-sur-Saône). Became Emperor and having left the Élysée Palace for that of the Tuileries, he had the room converted into a library in 1860 and installed there the library of his mother, Queen Hortense. This room will then serve as an office for all the Presidents of the Republic from Patrice de Mac Mahon (from 1874) to Vincent Auriol (until 1954).
Félix Faure, who had the semi-circular Second Empire library removed to replace it with a Louis XIV hanging (the Four Elements, modification quickly canceled by his successors) and replaced the red damask seats with seats upholstered in Beauvais tapestry from of the Château de Compiègne, died there on February 18, 1899 following a stroke.
In 1971, following the example of the neighboring Bleu lounge and dining room, the change of decor was entrusted to Pierre Paulin in order to make it the smoking room of the modernized private apartments wanted by the Pompidou couple. The furniture thus designed includes half-moon seats matching the shape of the hemicycle of the location of the library, four poufs with backrests placed in the center of the room as well as a reserve of seven armchairs (all covered with greige canvas resuming the color of the walls of the cross-ribbed structure, with bases also covered with light buff “Nextel”).
A central coffee table in the shape of a large flower with Altuglas petalsopalescent white surrounding a luminous heart and surmounted by a circular smoked glass top, a bookcase (installed between the smoking room and the corridor) of 19 boxes, in transparent Altulor glass tinted in brown, mounted in staggered rows on a base, a piece of furniture for sound system and mobile lampposts placed on the side of the windows and reinforcing the lighting obtained by wall lights, with direct or indirect light and with variable intensity, embedded in the semicircular structure. And, as for the “salon des tableaux”, the Paulin smoking room was dismantled in 1974 by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who returned the library to its function and its decor dating from Napoleon III, and sent to the Château de Pierrefonds. From 1995, President Chirac made it a private dining room until his departure in 2007.
Four of the eight presidents of the Fifth Republic had their official photographs taken in this room, in front of the library: Charles de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou and Nicolas Sarkozy standing, François Mitterrand seated leafing through a copy of Montaigne ‘s Essays.
Paulin Dining Room
On the site of the former bedroom occupied by Napoleon III, overlooking the northeast corner of the private gardens, the dining room is the only remaining testimony to the modern arrangements of the palace – carried out in 1971 and 1972 by Pierre Paulin, who gave it its name, for President Georges Pompidou and his wife Claude.
In 1972, supported by his wife Claude, President Georges Pompidou commissioned decor from designer Pierre Paulin, installed in a self-supporting wall structure in order to be completely reversible. The living room is then designed as a total work of art, where the furniture responds to the walls and the ceiling, and which uses the new materials of the time.
The demountable wall structure is made up of 22 molded polyester elements joined by ribs to form a veritable nave adorned with a monumental chandelier of 9,000 glass rods and beads suspended from a grid under a ” Tyrian pink anodized aluminum reflective ceiling”.
The furniture mainly includes two round tables with 12 place settings each with a large smoked glass top and whose base is made up of 4 elements flaring downwards and at the top in a quadrilobe, that of the 24 chairs being trilobed and all covered of “Nextel”. To this are added two sideboards with 4 superimposed circular trays as well as 20 armchairs and 6 additional chairs. The furniture also includes the sculpture “The Ostriches” by François-Xavier Lalanne, the first work in biscuit porcelain resulting from the collaboration between the sculptor and the Sèvres factory in 1964. The wings of the ostriches hide coolers intended to accommodate bottles.
Old Empire bathroom
Located on the ground floor and overlooking the rue de l’Élysée, it was assigned to Anne-Aymone Giscard d’Estaing and has since served as a study for the wives of the Presidents of the French Republic for their official functions.
The wife of President Giscard d’Estaing had apricot fabrics installed there to cover the walls, a simple Directoire mahogany table covered with a correspondence set and an Empire lamp and placed in front of the marble fireplace, as well as than a grey-blue carpet adorned with a burgundy rug. Danielle Mitterrand has completely redesigned it under the guidance of interior designer Isabelle Hebey: the walls are set apart (to extend practically over the entire width of the wing, thus encroaching on the corridor previously connecting the dining room to the living room silver) and take on a light gray color, the period moldings are masked by linings, the windows are fitted with bluish white blinds,is replaced by three identical work tables in discolored ash, the carpet becomes steel gray and the doors have gray and black patinated steel handles.
The Salon d’Argent ends the wing, at its southern end, overlooking the private garden to the west and the park to the south. It was created in 1807 for Caroline Murat (an 1810 watercolor by Louis Hippolyte Lebas of the figure in this salon) and has since retained its original decor, only the color of the textile having been changed there in 1813. This is Jacob Desmalter who created the woodwork and furniture, of which silver is the dominant color. The bronzes are by André-Antoine Ravrio. The clock placed on the fireplace represents the Chariot of Fidelity driven by Love. Living in the palace between 1816 and 1820, the Duchess Marie-Caroline particularly appreciated this salon.
This room hosted several events in the History of France or the Presidency of the Republic: Napoleon I dictated to his brother Lucien there and signed his abdication on June 22, 1815 (a copy of the original act is still kept in this boudoir), four days after the defeat at Waterloo; the first President of the Republic, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, meditated there in memory of his uncle when he first came and conceived his coup d’etat there in 1851, which made him Napoleon III;
President Félix Faure regularly receives his mistress Marguerite Steinheil there, in particular the night of his death on February 16, 1899, which means that Charles de Gaulle sees in this room a vestige of a ” lupanar “: Félix Faure remains to this day the only president to have died at the palace during his term of office; it is finally the last room crossed by Charles de Gaulle on the day of his resignation from the presidency of the Republic and the day of his final departure from the palace, on April 28, 1969, after the failure of the referendum on the reform of the Senate and the regionalization.
Generally part of the private apartments (with the exception of Vincent Auriol who set up his presidential office there), the First Ladies Danielle Mitterrand and Bernadette Chirac have made the Salon d’Argent their office. The latter finally had it attributed to Jérôme Monod, adviser to Jacques Chirac, and who is therefore the last person to have worked there.
Installed by Georges Pompidou next to the Salon d’Argent at the southeast corner of the wing, it serves as an auxiliary kitchen for the President of the Republic for his meals taken in his private apartments, particularly in the dining room. Paulin. A staircase joins the bedrooms on the first floor.
As an extension of the Murat lounge, the west wing is mainly used for large state receptions.
Napoleon III Salon
The Élysée retains the traces of its 300 years of history, and bears within its walls the seal of its inhabitants. Built on the site of the former orangery of the Duchess of Berry, begun in 1860 during the reign of Napoleon III by Joseph-Eugène Lacroix to make it the first ballroom of the palace, enlarged and transformed under the presidency of Patrice de Mac Mahon to make it a large dining room of honor.
The Napoleon III lounge still retains, as its name suggests, signs of the Second Empirelike the molds of imperial eagles adorning the corners of the ceilings, the “RF” monogram surrounded by olive and oak branches having been added only later to give a more republican touch to the room. The red tapestries have been taken down, restored, and replaced with 21st century decoration.
The decor is original, essentially composed of columns and pilasters laden with gold. The three monumental crystal chandeliers date from the end of the 19th century and are identical to those in the village hall and the winter garden. The living room is furnished with 8 Louis XVI style Second Empire consoles. Until the construction of the winter garden, the room overlooked the park through a series of bay windows hidden by double curtains of red woolen velvet, behind which the service staff bustle during the big State dinners.
It is used nowadays, like the village hall and the neighboring winter garden, for official receptions, bilateral conferences (in particular with France ‘s main European partners), but also for press conferences by the President of the Republic.
Built in 1881, on the initiative of the President of the Third Republic Jules Grévy, it was a passage between the Hôtel d’Évreux and the gardens. This old greenhouse, which originally housed exotic plants and whose walls were covered with trellis, was built in 1881, under the presidency of Jules Grévy who organized a ball there on October 22, 1881 for the wedding of his daughter Alice Grévy. with the crook Daniel Wilson who will be at the origin of the decorations scandal within the Elysée. It is lit by three crystal chandeliers dating from the 19th century (the same as those in the village hall and the Napoleon III lounge). On a wall hangs a tapestry evoking an episode from the Bible, namely Heliodorus expelled from the Templeby the Angels after stealing his treasure. Reproducing the painting Heliodorus expelled from the temple of Raphael, it dates from 1738 and was woven at the Gobelins.
Entirely renovated by the architect Guy Nicot in two successive waves, respectively in 1976 and 1984, it has completely lost its original role, its glass roof and two orange trees from the national estate of Versailles recall this era.
Serving partly as an extension of the village hall and as a place of passage to access it, it is today a place of reception that can also be used for certain press conferences and work meetings, or even for the New Year’s greetings ceremony and the awarding of medals when there is only one recipient.
Like the neighboring rooms, the Salle des fêtes and the Salon Napoléon III, the Winter Garden was restored in December 2018. Since September 2021, Pavoisé, the ephemeral installation by artist Daniel Buren, has been dressing the glass roof in the colors of the French flag and renewing the space with its play of light and shadow.
The Salle des Fêtes is the main place of reception of the palace, in particular for the ceremony of investiture of the President of the Republic, the great official dinners in honor of foreign Heads of State or Government, the presentation of decorations, the installation and ceremony of the traditional Élysée Christmas tree, certain international conferences and press conferences.
It was built by the architect Adrien Chancel on the plans of Eugène Debressenne at the request of President Sadi Carnot, concerned about the luster of the presidential function, from 1888 and inaugurated on May 25, 1889 (during a party bringing together 8,000 guests, and this even if its decoration, then unfinished, had to continue until 1950) within the framework of the universal exhibition being held that year in Paris.
Decorated in shades of red, it is adorned with heavy coffered ceilings painted in 1896 by the artist Guillaume Dubufe (who depicts the Republic safeguarding Peace there, framed by allegories of Art and Science), woodwork overloaded with gilding, stucco columns (flanked by heavy double red curtains), nymphs (made by Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, Camille Lefèvre and Édouard Pépin), decorative sculptures (by Florian Kulikowski, Hamel and Bouet) and a small theater stage, surrounded by backstage and artists’ dressing rooms on either side and in the basement, set up in the west wall (indeed, until the 1970s, a show was offered to guests after dinner, and Louis de Funès played there notably for Charles de Gaulle).
The walls are covered with six Gobelins tapestries from the 18th century. These are four pieces from the suite of L’Histoire d’ Esther after Jean-François de Troy, a tapestry representing the month of December from the Months of Lucas made in 1770 after Lucas de Leyde, and a tapestry belonging to the Nouvelles portières de Diane suite made between 1728 and 1734 after Pierre-Josse Perrot for Stanislas Leszczynski, father-in-law of King Louis XV. Originally, the room was partitioned along its two lengths, until President François Mitterrand had ten French windows drilled in the south and east walls overlooking the park.
The banquet hall continues to evolve. In 1984, ten French windows were made on the park side to bring in natural light. As for the new textile decor – the result of the collaboration of the Mobilier national, the Isabelle Stanislas agency and the Operator of heritage and cultural real estate projects (OPPIC) – it was installed in 2019, highlighting the exceptional Napoleon III ceiling.
Its rich stucco decoration reveals an iconography to the glory of science. On the three medallions painted by Guillaume Dubufe in 1896 appears in the center The Republic safeguarding Peace, surrounded by Art on one side and Science on the other, themes dear to the Universal Exhibitions of the time.
In order to protect the guests from bad weather and fit out a cloakroom, Sadi Carnot also had a glass roof built along the north facade of the main building, overlooking the main courtyard, called the “Cage” under the Third Republic. to the monkeys”, because that is where the family photographs of the governments were taken when they were put in place. It was completely destroyed in 1947 by Vincent Auriol who installed the current changing rooms in the basement, being connected to the vestibule by freight elevators. In 2018, Emmanuel Macron had the red curtains removed from room.
The palace has 10,000 pieces of silverware, 7,000 crystal glasses and decanters and 9,300 plates; the majority of the pieces are Sèvres porcelain. An official dinner at the palace lasts less than an hour (it was 2:30 under General de Gaulle, who had previously shortened it by reducing the number of dishes from five to three); dated menus arranged near the plates are prepared for the guests. The presidential couple retains the last word in the choice of menus.
In the two wings surrounding the main courtyard of the palace (each being centered in turn on a minor courtyard, the western courtyard and the eastern courtyard, used by the vehicles of the President of the Republic and his collaborators), there are offices used by the main collaborators of the president. The West wing housed the first garages of the Presidency of the Republic until 1958. This same wing now houses a press room equipped with computer, telephone and multimedia equipment, used by the French and foreign press, “in order to to enable them to produce and send on the spot, articles, photos or videos”
An air-raid shelter was built for President Albert Lebrun under the private apartments in the East Wing in 1940, during the Phoney War. In 1978, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing set up the ” Jupiter command post ” or “PC Jupiter”, the name of the command post of the French nuclear deterrent force. It includes several offices (including one for the president), a meeting room and the nuclear force triggering system. The PC acts as a ” Faraday cage “: the discussions that take place there cannot therefore be intercepted; it is also designed to “resist a possible strike”on the palace.
Other spaces have been fitted out in the basement, in particular by Vincent Auriol who installed the kitchens below the West wing, and the changing rooms for the guests of the major State receptions under the vestibule. The garage, the Republican Guard, the florists and upholsterers were also there. From 1974, the basement houses the Élysée archives. In 2012, a dojo was set up for the training of gendarmes.
The Élysée Palace has a cinema in the basement of the winter garden. Created in 1972 under Georges Pompidou, under the location of the winter garden. It is equipped with twenty-one armchairs with white shells designed by Philippe Starck but it was reorganized under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy so as to be able to accommodate around forty people.
Pompidou watched auteur films there, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing often invited actors to attend previews, François Mitterrand invited his relatives to a monthly screening. Nicolas Sarkozy traditionally organized private screenings of blockbusters there, sometimes also in the presence of the actors and directors, notably Home by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, La Grande Vadrouille, Le Fabuleux Destin by Amélie Poulain or Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.
The kitchens are located in the basements, within a vaulted space of 500 square meters, where a brigade of twenty cooks works. The presidency has a cellar of 15,000 bottles (ie 5,000 less than at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) installed in 1947 and air-conditioned in 1982. In 2013, 10% of the cellar, or 1,200 bottles, were auctioned off at Drouot to renew the stock with more modest bottles, returning the excess sales to the State budget; 700,000 euros are collected, and the Matignon hotelundertakes the same initiative in November of the same year.
The two-hectare garden (20,000 square meters, for 7,000 square meters of lawn) appears today as a long curved lawn, lined with trees, flowers, groves, a maze and a fountain. The park is first designed as a French garden, with interlacing greenery separated by straight gravel paths. It is then much larger than today. The Marquise de Pompadour adds a note of rural fantasy to it by decorating it with a cave, a waterfall, a labyrinth, and even animals.
At the very end of the 18th century, the Duchess of Bourbon transformed it into an English garden. The paths and flowerbeds give way to wide lawns where a maze of paths meanders, with an irregular pond, a green theater, a rocky bridge. She even introduced attractions, ring games, swings, boats, in order to open the park to the public and exploit it commercially. In the 19th century, the attractions gradually disappeared, and the park took on its present appearance, marked by English tradition, but incorporating French elements such as boxwood embroidery in front of the private wing.
The park has a total of one hundred species of trees and shrubs. There are in particular three bi-centenary plane trees dating from Bathilde d’Orléans, Duchess of Bourbon, the largest of which measures 5.20 meters in circumference, hedges of boxwood and varieties of hibiscus. There are also a hundred varieties of roses, thirty of rhododendrons. The planting of spring flowers results in the import of 20,000 bulbs of hyacinths and tulips and 17,000 for summer flowers. A giant bonsai also adorns the park. It has no ancient statue, except, hidden by the trees, that of a sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne and The Twins, by Jean Carton.
Added to this is a third statue, placed against a wall of the east wing of the palace: Le Flûteur made in 1863 by the sculptor Jean André Delorme. Acquired by the State for 4,000F during the Salon of 1863, it was then installed at the Luxembourg Museum before being attributed on March 30, 1889 to the decoration of the Jardin des Tuileries where it was sent on May 4, 1889 at the Élysée Palace in order to decorate the salons within the framework of the Universal Exhibition. She has not left the palace since that date and has adorned the gardens ever since.
The rectangle divided by the main building and the east wing (the private apartments) constitutes the pleasure garden of the presidential couple. Formerly occupied by a rose garden and then by a pond, where there were ducks, a pond removed by Georges Pompidou, it now houses a small French-style garden.
Since 1990, the gardener Yannick Cadet has supervised the organization of garden; there are a total of nine gardeners who work there, and no longer use pesticides and only organic fertilizers. Here, work is natural. The ivy on the ground or that of a fertile fig tree, grown thanks to a seed dropped by a bird.
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