Like the Tuileries Palace (built in 1564) the garden was named after the tile-making factories that were established there in 1372 next to the 15-20 (300-bed) Quinze-Vingt hospice on the Rue Saint-Honoré. Its blind pensioners’ principal job was to pray for the souls of the donating royals.
Paris’ oldest and largest garden was established by Catherine de Médicis after she had ordered the building of the Tuileries Palace. Redesigned by André Le Nôtre in 1664 it was opened to ‘good people’ by Louis XIV.
Effectively abandoned by Louis XIV for Versailles from 1672, the Palace was used only briefly by Louis XV from 1716 to 1722, so much of the garden has been used as a public space for over 350 years.
On Sunday July 12 1789 Paris learned that Louis XVI had dismissed his finance minister, the constitutional monarchist banker Jacques Necker. Within hours the king’s Swiss Guard were ordered to disperse a demonstration in the Tuileries Garden.
The grand basin in the Garden was the setting for Robespierre to torch a floating monster called Atheism on June 8 1794 to reveal the statue of Wisdom at the start of the Festival of the Supreme Being. During the French Revolution the Garden was called ‘The National Garden’.
Before his coup d’ État overthrowing the Directorate on November 9 1799 (18 Brumaire an 8) Napoléon Bonaparte bivouacked his troops in the garden. This was also where the Austrian and Russian occupying troops set up their encampment in 1814.
Beneath the South side of the garden running parallel to the Seine, what is now the Terrasse du Bord de l’Eau, there were tunnels beneath the Palace. This was where prisoners were murdered both during the suppression of the June 24 1848 uprising and again after Louis Napoléon’s coup d’ État of December 4 1851.
On May 15 1871 during the Paris Commune a battalion of 2,000 armed women paraded through the garden.
Several defenders of the Commune were then killed on the Terrace next to the river on May 24.