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The Congress

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This room connects with the Minister’s private office on one side and the Salon des Ambassadeurs on the other. Originally called the Salon des Attachés, it was later renamed the Salon du Congrès in memory of the 1856 Congress of Paris which put an end to the Crimean War. That same year a painting by Dubufé of a session of the Congress was placed in this room, although the Congress in fact met in the Salon des Ambassadeurs.

The sculptured decor in this room is by Liénard and the Huber brothers. A frieze of leaves and garlands of fruits runs the length of the room.

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The ceiling was painted by Nolau and Rubé. On each of the four sides, in the middle of the ceiling cove, is a cartouche surrounded by foliated scrolls in grisaille, laurel branches, knotted ribbons, garlands of flowers in colour and baskets of fruit; two figures are seated at an angle on either side of the cartouche, from which stands out a monochrome profile of a woman. The ceiling used to depict the sky. Today it is simply painted in white.
The overdoors are decorated with four cartouches painted by Vauchelet, in which The Four Seasons are symbolized by women and children in an appropriate landscape.

Liénard created furniture pieces for this room - armchairs and furniture pieces designed to fit between the windows with two arched doors decorated with cascades of fruit and flowers and designed to accommodate busts. He also made the console designed to match the mantelpiece.

All these furniture pieces were built by the cabinet-maker Jeanselme. Some, such as those between the windows, are still in their original position, but the console and armchairs have been placed elsewhere.

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The great chandelier in Renaissance style with children and arabesques is the work of Victor Paillard, who also delivered at the same time a bronze and gold clock resting on a green marble plinth and representing Architecture and Painting, candelabra depicting The Three Graces, another pair of candelabra decorated with children and bouquets of flowers and a pair of torches in the form of chimera, with flowers and garlands. All these pieces still decorate the Salon du Congrès.

The three framed wall tapestries are part of the History of Maria de’ Medici series in the manner of Rubens woven at the Gobelins Factory between 1828 and 1838 at the request of the Viscount de La Rochefoucauld, Director of Fine Arts.

They show The Birth of Maria de’ Medici in Florence, The Reconciliation of Maria de’ Medici with her Son and The Conclusion of Peace.

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All rights reserved - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development - 2014