Secrets of the Château de Rambouillet Outside Paris | EUROtoday

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The king was determined to draw Marie Antoinette to her citadel in Rambouillet. He custom-built an uncommon addition within the park and also you'll by no means guess what it’s.

In this new sequence, in partnership with the Center of National Monuments, we unveil the hidden secrets and techniques of a few of France's most interesting historic websites. This month, the elegant Château de Rambouillet, on the outskirts of Paris.

The lavish interiors have been superbly restored © Benjamin Gavaudo / Center des Monuments Nationaux

A spot of relaxation and leisure for princes, emperors and presidents

Located within the Yvelines, simply exterior Paris, and on the sting of one of many prettiest forests in Île-de-France, the Château de Rambouillet has lengthy been occupied by these in energy as a spot to get pleasure from some down time, removed from the courts and ministries in Paris. The citadel is spacious however not overly enormous, and comfy. Its huge park and gardens permit for leisurely strolls and the forests are a favourite looking floor for a lot of kings.

François I cherished to hunt within the Rambouillet forest – he really died within the citadel following an accident. Louis XIV purchased the citadel in 1704 for his reputable son, the Count of Toulouse, who made the citadel his everlasting residence and loved a peaceable household life. His son, the Duke of Penthièvre, continued to like the château and ordered the set up of an English backyard through which the decorative Chaumière aux Coquillage (the 'shelfish thatched cottage') was constructed and stays at present.

Louis XVI turned his gaze in the direction of the château and bought it for a whopping 16 million French kilos. He wished an escape from the pressures of the court docket in Paris and loved looking however his spouse, Marie-Antoinette hated Rambouillet – extra on this later.

The Shell Cottage © Colombe Clier / Center des Monuments Nationaux

Napoleon I took possession of the citadel in 1804 although it was severely broken by the Revolution. Still, he restored it and transformed it, blasting one wing away with dynamite, reshaping the facade and planting 1000’s of timber. He got here recurrently to the citadel to chill out and his residences have only recently been reopened to the general public following intensive renovations. After a interval of neglect, Napoleon III saved the citadel by restoring it and giving it to his cousin.

Following within the footsteps of the French monarchs, President Felix Faure determined to make Rambouillet the summer time residence of French presidents and he took over the citadel in 1895. The property additionally performed host to diplomatic receptions and summits and has seen many a head of state strolling the grounds, from David D. Eisenhower to John F. Kennedy, to the Queen Elizabeth II. In 1975, president Giscards d'Estaing hosted the primary G6 summit at Rambouillet.

In truth, the citadel was nonetheless occupied by French heads of State till just lately. It entered the casre of the Center des Monuments Nationaux in 2009 and its halls, corridors, stately rooms and gardens have step by step been opened to the general public ever since.

Inside the Shell Cottage © Colombe Clier / Center des Monuments Nationaux

Convincing Marie-Antoinette to return to Rambouillet

Back to Louis XVI and his desperation to convey Marie-Antoinette to the citadel he cherished a lot. Along with an experimental farm, which he populated with merino sheep imported from Spain, and a nursery backyard, through which he had unique species planted following botanic exploration journeys overseas, he wooed Marie-Antoinette with a fairly astonishing present.

He ordered the development of a decorative creamery, which was designed for the only real objective of tasting and having fun with dairy merchandise, a trendy passion on the finish of the 18th century. The king commissioned the most effective artists of the time: painter Hubert Robert and sculptor Pierre Julien, who crafted the constructing to resemble a Greek temple. A small zoo was additionally constructed simply exterior the creamery. The undertaking was accomplished by 1787 and the king deliberate a spectacular unveiling for the queen who, regardless of the monumental grotto, finely sculpted detailing, mahogany furnishings and most interesting porcelain set…nonetheless most popular Versailles' Trianon palace!

The spectacular grotto with, on the again, a sculpture of Amalthée by Pierre Julien © Céline Clanet / Center des Monuments Nationaux

Recently, a brand new mediation area has opened its doorways close to the Laiterie de la Reine. Set in one of many entrance pavilions (the Pavillon du Roi), it affords guests the keys to understanding the fabulous historical past of Rambouillet within the 18th century. The area is supplied with tactile objects, reproductions of decorations and digital terminals to supply an immersive and multi-sensory visiting and studying expertise, appropriate for adults and kids aged 7 and over.

The entrance to the Laiterie de la Reine © Colombe Clier / Center des Monuments Nationaux

Up shut and private with the presidents

A brief exhibition at present on present plunges guests behind the scenes of the presidential residence at Rambouillet again within the Nineteen Fifties. The exhibition, held till September 2024, was curated in partnership with the Mobilier National, to current the distinctive environment created by President Vincent Auriol and his spouse, within the wake of World War II.

Visitors can uncover distinctive rooms and furnishings, impressed by the transatlantic liners and gaze on the works of designers resembling Jean-Charles Moreux and Jacques Adnet.

For extra info on the exhibition, go to the citadel's web site.

The house reserved for the international heads of state at Rambouillet © Benjamin Gavaudo / Center des Monuments Nationaux

How to go to?

The citadel, the Laiterie de la Reine and the Chaumière aux Coquillages are open as follows:

From April 1 to September 30: 10 am – 12 pm and 1:30 pm – 6 pm

From October 1 to March 31: 10 am – 12 pm and 1:30 pm – 5 pm

The citadel is free to entry each first Sunday of the month from November to March. For different slots, make sure that to ebook tickets prematurely.

The park is free to entry:

From April 1 to September 30: 8 am – 9 pm

From October 1 to March 31: 10 am – 5 pm

For extra info, go to

Lead picture credit score: The Château de Rambouillet was a favourite residence of kings, princes and presidents © Laurent Gueneau / Center des Monuments Nationaux

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The Astonishing Gift Louis XVI Had Made for Marie-Antoinette at the Château de Rambouillet