Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chateau de Malmaison

We live far enough outside of Paris that we don't encounter the touristy sites on a daily basis.  If we want to go into the city we have to be intentional about it, and it is usually a full day for us.  
There is one thing that we have driven by over and over again and today we finally stopped for a visit.  The Chateau de Malmaison in Rueil Malmaison is where Josephine Bonaparte lived.  

I did some reading on Trip Advisor the night before and people seemed to like the chateau overall.  I was thankful for the review that it usually wasn't very busy, when you are taking 4 children to a chateau you do not want an audience.  They also have free parking just across the street from the Chateau, a very good thing.  

Walking up to the Chateau is beautiful.

This is the music room.  I adore the red couches and the flower prints are really beautiful.

The kids all had audio guides so they were happy.

This floor is at the end of the dining room.  I love the tile pattern here.

The green velvet table cloth with the bright red chairs was amazing.

Josephine died in 1814 and in 1829 her furnishings were auctioned off to help pay her debts.  Over the last almost 200 years many of the pieces have been found and repurchased.

This is the painted ceiling in the library.

I broke out the zoom lens for this gem.  The green velvet chair was tucked in behind Napoleon's desk.

This cabinet has a secret.

It is really a door with a secret passage to the second floor.

These doors were in the stairwell.

This was a barber's case.  My sister the hair dresser thought this was pretty awesome.

Here is the top of the secret stair case.

Bennett thought the swords were the best thing ever.  

General Leclerc

This painting of Napoleon is HUGE.  It is one of four that the artist did.  This specific one was painted for the King of Spain.

This is the point in the chateau, on the second floor about half way through, that Garrett was over it.  

Josephine's room.

Another toilette kit 

The painted ceiling in here was great.

This bed was for Josephine's lady's maid.

This big beautiful mirror was a great opportunity for a group shot!

This petite little chair was adorable.

I loved this table top.

And the painted border at the top of this little room.

There was a very interesting genealogy of Josephine's family.

One of her descendants is King Harald V, of Norway.

I forgot to bring the baby carrier so at this point of the trip Malachi was VERY heavy.  Thankfully Aunt Laura was a huge help.

At this point there was a restroom and a drink vending machine.  Nothing fancy, but perfectly adequate.  Now it was on to the gardens.  

This giant magnolia tree reminded me of my time in the southeastern US.

This beautiful pink bush was gorgeous.

We walked through the side garden and then around back.

Josephine loved flowers and in her time had a tremendous garden.  I am so glad they are bringing the gardens back to life.  

There is still a lot to be done to restore the grounds of this chateau, but they are doing a beautiful job.  

The trees in this area were HUGE.  

This tree was planted in 1800 and it is absolutely massive.  It is so neat to think about all this tree has stood through.  

This statue is about 7 feet tall and one of the creepiest statues I think I have ever seen.  The kids thought he was very funny, especially certain parts he is missing.  

This statue was very distinguished, but we couldn't find a name.

More beautiful flowers.

At this point we were all hot, hungry and tired.  We made the short walk to the main road where there was a cafe.  I am used to things being more expensive, but the kids menu started at 12 euros each!  We couldn't justify spending 60 euros on lunch, so we hopped back in the car and drove back closer to home and ate at McDonald's.  Not my first choice, but it made the kids very happy.