Twins in the Tuileries Gardens
Tour of the Musée de l’Orangerie at 2.30pm or 4.30pm, followed by a tour of the Jeu de Paume (2 x 45 mins).
For the European Heritage Days, the Musée de l’Orangerie and Jeu de Paume are coming together to offer an introduction to the architecture of these two emblematic institutions of the Tuileries Gardens, and the links that unite them.
In the design for the Tuileries Gardens commissioned by Catherine de Medicis from Philibert Delorme, the borders of the garden followed those of Paris. Le Nôtre then created triangular terraces facing west, anticipating the expansion of the capital. Following the construction of the Place Louis XV (future Place de la Concorde), Le Nôtre’s triangular terraces form a right-angled base for the buildings of the Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume.
The building on the "waterfront terrace" was built in 1852 as a winter shelter for the orange trees previously housed in the Palais du Louvre during the winter. The Jeu de Paume was built on the north-east corner of the garden in 1861 during the reign of Napoleon III to accommodate the courts for Real Tennis (the predecessor of tennis), based on the plan of the orangery and thus becoming its pendant. In 1909, the Jeu de Paume became an exhibition space before becoming, in 1922, an annexe of the Musée du Luxembourg, dedicated to contemporary foreign schools. As for the Orangerie, in that same year, 1922, Claude Monet’s donation to the State of the monumental series of Water Lily paintings was formalised, and building work was started in order to install them there according to his specifications.
The two oval rooms dedicated to this vast pictorial project opened to the public in 1927 and all these buildings form the Musée national de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, also attached to the Musée du Luxembourg. In the 1970s, the Walter-Guillaume Collection, bought by the French state in 1959, was installed on a new level constructed inside the building. This was only the beginning of the respective transformations and renovations of these two buildings, which would accommodate temporary exhibitions and prestigious collections throughout their history.