A visit to the National Assembly, Paris, France

Dear readers,

I am currently doing an internship at the National Assembly in Paris and last week I was given the opportunity to visit the entirety of the building. It was honestly amazing to see the beauty of this building as well as discovering the political activity that goes on inside. Here I will share with you my experience.

What is the National Assembly?

The National Assembly is the second institution of the French Parliament. For those of you who are from England you can see it as the equivalent of the houses of parliament in the UK. It aims to act for the French population by establishing laws and controlling the government and is composed of 577 deputies, elected every 5 years.

Now, let’s discover the different rooms of the Assembly! Here I will be sharing the ones that caught my eye the most.

Galerie des fêtes

This is an absolutely stunning room that was inaugurated in 1848. If you have visited Versailles, you will see some resemblance with the Galerie des Glaces. The ceilings are painted by Francois Joseph Heim and this room is full of allegories of Justice, Industry, Trade and Agriculture.

La salle des Pas Perdus

This is another beautiful room where before each session, the President of the Assembly (Claude Bartolone) goes to the hemicycle surrounded by a double guard of honour drumming. It was amazing to see this service and quite impressive that they do this before every single session. Interestingly, it is forbidden for journalists to enter this room and is commonly called the “sacred perimeter” due to them not being present.


The Library

For those who are Harry Potter fans, you would have been delighted with the sight of this library, which has a very high resemblance to the one in the film. The guide actually tried to trick us into thinking that it was the one in the film but I have done my research and found that the true one is in Oxford.

Regardless of this, the library is still absolutely stunning. It was built in 1830 by Jules de Joly and designed by Eugène Delacroix. There are 70 000 books in the library itself and 730 000 books are stored in the basement.

The Hemicycle
It was designed by Jules de Joly from 1828 to 1832 and is where the members of parliament debate and discuss laws. When the deputies deliver their speech they stand to the nearest microphone and cannot speak more than 2 minutes (there is a countdown timer). There are also editors who note what is said during the sessions in order to write the report of the session as well as cameras constantly filming everything.

The right winged deputies sit on the right side of the hemicycle whilst the left winged politicians sit on the left side. Also, the more important a MP you are, the lower down you sit.

What was my favourite part of the visit?

I really enjoyed MPs discussing live before my very eyes as it was amazing to see them as real people and not just as people on television.  However, I cannot forget the beauty of the building that is quite overwhelming.

Also I did enjoy the lunch that we had- gazpacho as a starter, salmon and vegetables as a main and a cheese cake for the dessert. It was beautiful.