The beautiful 18th Century designed gardens of the Elysée Palace, once home to Madame Pompadour, the favourite mistress of Louis XV are only now on view to privileged invitees or ministers and to the public for one weekend on heritage days.
The original building known as the Hotel d’Evreux was built between 1718 and 1722 and the gardens are laid out to the style of those days. The garden of two hectares (20,000 square meters, 7000 square meters of lawn) features a long curved lawn, bordered by trees, flowers and bushes. There is a maze and a fountain, fruit trees and three well known plane trees planted by Bathilde d’Orléans (1750-1822) known as the Duchess of Bourbon. In the spring and summer thousands of hyacinths, tulips and summer flowers add vibrant colour.
The Marquise de Pompasdour made the Élysée Palace her Parisian home before bequeathing it to Louis XV. It took the name Élysée from 1797, with reference to the promenade with the same name situated close by. During this period the Duchess of Bourbon rented out the ground floor and allowed the tenant to organize dances in the halls and garden. Number 55 on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is the official location of the President of the French Republic. The halls, the library, the dining room and the garden make the Élysée Palace an architectural masterpiece which can only be visited on European Heritage Days.