Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture

Institutional buildings reflect the history and elegance of French architecture. Institutional buildings are more than just a symbol of the attachment of Parisians to their institutions or their public buildings. They also reflect the history and elegance of French architecture.

Among these institutional monuments to discover: the Palais Brongniart, the Ecole Militaire, the Sorbonne, the Observatoire de Paris.

Palais Brongniart

Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture
It was built upon the orders of Napoleon and is named after the architect that designed it: Alexandre Théodore Brongniart. Opened on 4 November 1826 by the Comte de Chabrol (the prefect of the Seine), it housed the Bourse de Paris (Paris stock exchange) for nearly one and a half centuries.

The Bourse de Paris has since moved. The famous trading floor, around which stokebrokers dealt with the largest values quoted on the stock exchange, was removed on 14 July 1987. The Palais Brongniart houses a gallery devoted to the Bourse and its role in the economy. Architect: A. Brongniart. Since 2008, the site can no longer be visited.

Conseil économique, social et environnemental (CESE)

Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture
The Palais d’Iéna, located in Paris’ 16th arrondissement, is a monument inspired by classical architecture as seen in Athens’s Parthenon. It was built in 1937 using primarily reinforced concrete, a very modern material at that time. The Palais d’Iéna was designed by one of the most famous French architects of the 20th century: Auguste Perret, the artist known for having given reinforced concrete its prestige.

The third constitutional assembly of the French Republic after the National Assembly and the Senate, the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC) represents key economic, social and environmental fields, promoting cooperation between different socio-professional interest groups and ensuring they are part of the process of shaping and reviewing public policy.

The ESEC has a major role to play in these times of economic, social and environmental change. It advises the government and parliament, and participates in the development of economic, social and environmental policies.

The Council is composed of public figures and representatives of the associative sector, employers and employees. Representing tens of millions of French citizens, the ESEC is at the heart of major social issues and develops new proposals relating to the key topics that will have an impact upon our lives today and tomorrow.

Observatoire de Paris

Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture
Historic building. Old and modern astronomical instruments. The oldest observatory still in operation. (Architect: Claude Perrault 1667-1672). Research and teaching establishment. The Paris observatory is the origin point of the meridian in France, geodisic meridian (1729-Jacques Cassini) that crosses the country from Dunkerque to Perpignan (meridian used for the first map of France). It was in 1884 that an international convention adopted the meridian of Greenwich as the meridian of origin.

Ministère de l'économie de l'industrie et de l'emploi

Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture
Designed like the arch of a bridge over the river, this imposing government ministry is exceptionally open to the public during European Heritage Days.

Formerly located inside the prestigious setting of the Louvre, the Ministry and its staff moved into their current premises here between 1983 and 1989. Located at Bercy, the finance Ministry is made up of three main buildings with a modern architecture inspired by Colbert, Vauban, and Necker. The two 72-metre high arches are the monumental doors to the city.

Architects: Paul Chemetov, Borja Huidobro, Louis Arretche and Roman Karasinsky.

Palais de l’Élysée

Institutional buildings: the history and elegance of French architecture
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. Number 55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is the official headquarters of the President of the French 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.

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