17.5.18

Malmaison


The Château de la Malmaison is situated in the western suburbs of Paris. It has a long history and has been rebuilt, modified, during several centuries, but today it looks very close what it looked like during its most celebrated years, the beginning of the 19th century, when it was the home of Napoleon and especially of his first wife, Josephine. Josephine acquired the château in 1799. It needed heavy restorations, but, decorated in the typical Empire style, she and Napoleon made it to their major home during the first years of the 19th century. France was then even often governed from here. The couple divorced in 1809, when Napoleon married the Austrian archduchess Marie-Louise. Josephine became the only owner of Malmaison … and received frequent visits by Napoleon. She did a lot to embellish the place, maybe especially the gardens. The present gardens are only a minor part of the original ones... and you could find some 250 rose varieties, trees of all kinds and origins … and animals – including zebras, antelopes, kangaroos, lamas… .  Josephine died here in 1814. Napoleon came back for a few days in 1815 after his last abdication, just before leaving for St. Helena.

The château was first taken over by Josephine’s son, Eugène de Beauharnais, later by a Swede (Jonas-Philip Hagerman – I talked about him here), later again by an ex-Queen of Spain, then by Napoleon III… and even later by Daniel Iffla, "Osiris" (I talked about him here), who bequeathed it to the French State. It’s now a museum, so let’s take a visit.

The entrance hall, the billiard room…

… the golden room…

… the music room (still with a harp on which Josephine used to play)…

… the dining room and the council room… (many rooms have some kind of tent-architecture)

… the library (see also top picture), probably the most unchanged of all rooms…

… Napoleon’s salon and bedroom…

… Josephine’s bedrooms, the official one (with the bed on which she died) and a second one, which she preferred…

… some portraits of Napoleon, including one by Jacques-Louis David …

… a number of nice items…





… a compass and a water bottle used by Napoleon…

… and the kind of camp bed on which Napoleon was laid, dead, 1821, at St. Helena, a bed brought back to France.

















3 comments:

claude said...

Petite, je suis des fois passée pas loin..
Excellent reportage et belle découverte !
Merci Peter !

Maria Russell said...

Malmaison! A magical place...where the one and only true power couple lived once...
Thank you, Peter,
Maria

lyliane said...

Je le connais par cœur, on emmenait tous nos amis et famille le visiter.
Je vais bientôt y retourner avec une amie Indienne.