January 23, 2012

Visiting an empty French Senat

“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer "Present" or "Not Guilty."”
Theodore Roosevelt

The other day, I followed the proposal of a very well-organized lady to join her on the tour of the Palais du Luxembourg, home of the French Senat. I figured it would be very instructive. The tour was impressive due to the lovely building and it's interior design. You could feel the "Grandeur des Français" of past times throughtout the whole tour.

I was not impressed when we reached the Chamber of Sessions just to find it empty. Guess what, it's Friday and no senators are to be seen. Usually there are 343 senators who are assisted by specialised civil servants and parliamentary aides. In all, 2000 people work here. We didn't get to see many of them!!! Nobody was able to explain why the all the senators had the day off... not even our charming guide, Frank!

Our guide, Frank ... très francais!

The French Parliament is made up of two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. Members of the two Houses are chosen by two different electoral systems. This ensures that all the diverse components of French society are represented as fairly as possible.

Examination of bills by both Houses of Parliament makes for better laws and the well proven experience of the Senators improves their content.

The Speaker of the Senate ensures the stability of France’s institutions as he is called upon to replace the President of the Republic in the event of his death or resignation.

But lets come back to the Palais de Luxembourg. Marie de Medici (wife of Henri IV of France ) bought the land on which the Palace now sits and started plans for the building in 1612. Up until the French Revolution it was a princely residence.

Declared a National Palace in 1791, the Luxembourg Palace became home to the Directoire, the House of Peers (1814-1848), and the Senate of the Third Republic (from 1879).

feeling the French vibes

the golden room

Yours truly ... reporting

I'd like to have a staircairs like this at home ....

impressive hallway ...

the one and only senator to be found ... having a photo session

good work guys

no senators, no spectators

unfortunately we were not allowed to enter this impressive library

waiting for Cinderella to enter through the door

in the meantime ... I'll have a rest

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