DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS
The Château as it is today was built by Louis XV. Designed by Gabriel in the neo classical style, it is set in beautiful gardens. It became one of Napoleon’s official Imperial residences and the bed chambers of both the Emperor and Empress are stunning examples of the Empire style.
Later a favorite residence of Napoleon III, it was the setting for the autumn “séries”and the château contains a Second Empire museum.
This intriguing château has the longest history as a royal residence.
From the time of François I, many kings have added to the building in various styles,making it a particularly rich example of French architecture, as well as boasting one of the most outstanding collections of furniture. We can organise a special visit of Napoleon’s private apartments and the Napoleonic museum.
NOT REALLY ROYAL, BUT ALMOST
This was the first large project bringing together the architect Le Vau, the painter Le Brun and the landscape designer Le Nôtre, who were to be assigned the task of transforming Versailles. For that reason, a tour of Vaux-le-Vicomte can be an interesting prelude to a visit of Versailles.
The extensive gardens contain parterres and water features designed by Le Nôtre as well as the Hamlet which inspired the Hameau de la Reine – Marie-Antoinette’s rustic village in the gardens of the Petit Trianon.
Also noteworthy are the magnificent stables. They were built for the Duke of Bourbon who is said to have believed he was coming back in his next life as a horse!
AN IMPERIAL RESIDENCE
Before he became Emperor, Napoleon and Josephine purchased a country mansion about 12 kilometres from Paris. As Premier Consul, Napoleon moved into the Tuileries Palace, but his private home at Malmaison was also a seat of government, with many important decisions being made in its council room. Napoleon’s desk from the Tuileries Palace is now in the library of the château, along with an impressive array of personal items and furniture. He gave the château to Josephine when they divorced and she died there in 1814. Before he went into permanent exile on St Helena, Napoleon spent his last days on French soil in what had always been Josephine’s favourite residence.