Palais Grand-Ducal: Follow the Guide!
Germain Birgen has been a guide at the Palais Grand-Ducal for 25 years. In his spare time, he works as a banker.
The Grand-Ducal couple live in Colmarberg, but the Palace serves as their official residence. It is here that the Grand Duke works and entertains. Built in 1573, the Palace first served as the town hall, then as the prefecture of the Forestry Department under the French administration, and finally as the Government House. The accession of Grand Duke Adolphe in 1890 marked the beginning of the exclusive use of the building by the sovereign and his family. While the walls belong to the State, the objects inside are part of the family's heritage. Tours are organized during the summer but make no mistake: The Palazzo Ducale is not a museum.
"Grand Ducal is not a museum, it is the seat of the State!"
The ground floor
The first surprise on entering the porch was that the path beneath our feet was paved with wood. Perfectly resistant, it has the advantage of being quiet. On the left, the weighing room was for a long-time home to the scales where farmers came to have their harvest weighed. Today, it houses part of Grand Duke Jean's personal collection of weapons. The guards' room was converted into a bistro during the Nazi occupation. As we climb the stairs, we pass imposing green Malachite vases donated by Tsar Nicholas II.
The first floor
The tour continues in the large Festival Hall. It is outside here that the Grand Ducal family appears on the balcony. Two of the splendid portraits were never finished. The painter Ricardo Macarrón died before the final brushstroke. Pure gold on the columns enhances the solemnity of the setting. In the "pink" salon, Mr. Birgen recalls a delightful anecdote: Adolphe de Nassau Weilburg was a Protestant. On the occasion of the marriage of his son, William IV, the Pope gave his blessing to a union with the Catholic Marie-Anne, Infanta of Portugal, on condition that the couple's daughters were brought up Catholic. They only had six daughters! Since then, the family has been Catholic. In the imposing Salon des Rois, which traces the history of the monarchy, the Grand Duke receives the Heads of State. The tour ends with a visit to the Grand Duke's study and the Palace Dining Room.