1875-1876 - XIXth century
1875-1876 : The Congress Room
The Franco-German War of 1870-1871 led to the fall of the Second Empire on 4 September 1870. After entering French territory, the German coalition armies besieged Paris and the Prussian headquarters were installed in Versailles. And on 18 January 1871, during a solemn ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors, the German Empire was proclaimed, with the king of Prussia, Wilhelm I at its head.
The French Government of National Defence, set up to handle the political transition, fled before the advance of the enemy, first to Tours, then to Bordeaux, from where it negotiated with the invader the conditions of an armistice and the withdrawal of the German troops. In March it was able to return to the Paris region but could not enter the capital where the besieged population had revolted, leading to the Commune. So it installed itself in the palace of Versailles, where the Royal Opera was used for the sessions of the provisional National Assembly.
The establishment of the Republic in 1875 created two chambers, so the Senate was assigned to the Royal Opera, and a second hall was fitted out for the National Assembly which could also host the two chambers united in a “Congress” if the need arose. The new hall was built in the South Wing by the architect of the National Assembly, Edmond de Joly, and was used for the first time in March 1876. Its decor was largely inspired by motifs borrowed from the other parts of the palace of Versailles.