The palace was originally built in 1612 by Marie de' Medici on lands she owned. The design was based on buildings from her native Florence. The building is often compared to the far larger Palazzo Pitti where Queen Marie was born in 1575. In 1642, Marie left the Luxembourg to her second and favourite son, Gaston, Duke of Orléans. He called it the Palais d'Orléans but it was still known by its original name. Upon Gaston's death, the palace passed to his widow, Marguerite of Lorraine. Then it passed to his elder daughter by his first marriage, La Grande Mademoiselle.
In 1660, Anne de Montpensier sold the Luxembourg to her younger half-sister, Élisabeth Marguerite d'Orléans, Duchess of Guise. The Duchess, in turn, gave it to her cousin, king Louis XIV, in 1694. In 1717 Philippe, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France gave the palace to his favourite daughter the Duchess of Berry. The building became infamous for the duchess's parties and sexual activities. She also hosted Peter the great there in 1717. The pregnancies of the young widow make scandal. At the end of March 1719, a new confinement badly prepared by her excesses, goes very badly. On the verge of death, she begs for extreme unction, which the church refuses her. On April 2, she is delivered of a stillborn child. Disgraced by the rumors of this birth, which all Paris talks about, the princess does not recover and dies in July at the castle of La Muette. At the autopsy, the doctors find her pregnant once again.
- "The Luxembourg Palace". Sénat. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Felicity Crowe, Cruise Guide to Europe and the Mediterranean(New York: DK Publishers, 2011), p. 149