While in Paris everyone will say to visit the apartments of Napoleon III at the Louvre. They're right, it's amazing! On the way to his private apartments you will pass through the Escalier du Ministre which is worth a blog post in its own right before moving onto the apartments themselves.
Originally the staircase was part of the ceremonial apartments of the minister of state. These were built to impress those who came for parties and on affairs of state and impress they do!
Napoleon III hired the architect Hector Martin Lefuel to design the "New Louvre" wing, now known in part as the Richelieu wing. Construction of the wing was at the height of the 2nd Empire period, 1854-1857.
Afterwards the staircase was decorated by a number of artists until 1861. I can see what took them so long! I love the chandelier and huge sconces built by Christofle and designed by the sculptor Morand.
The 2 stunning paintings at the top of the stair are by Charles-Francois d'Aubigny and depict the gardens of the Tuileries and the palace.
I love these interior doors found throughout Paris, I say we bring them back into current fashion!
Next up the apartments of Napoleon III. Click the photos to see larger in detail.