As part of our ongoing tour of France my wife and I recently visited the château de Compiègne located in the town that goes by the same name. The weather was a bit overcast and cold in the morning but luckily for us, the skies cleared up and the sun came out in the afternoon - just when it was time to view the châteaus spectacular gardens.
Brief History and Tour
The château as it is today was originally built in 1751 - 1788 by King Louis the 15th as a secondary home for him and his family. The château is connected to a massive forest that at the time was teaming with wild game. It was considered by the King to be an ideal hunting getaway which was one of his many passions.
The Chateau is designed in a Neoclassical style both inside and out and was later restored to glory by Napolean I.
A marble statue of Napolean can be seen in the image below.
Today the Château acts as a museum that has been divided into several historic apartments including the apartments of the emperor and empress - Napolean and his wife Josephine.
In the image above we see an ornately decorated bed that is located in a replica of an apartment. The bed was originally designed for a prominant female guest who was supposed to come and visit the palace. Unfortunately though, she never actually got to sleep in the bed as she ended up cancelling her trip to the palaceat the last minute. I'm not sure if the bed was ever repurposed or not.
The next image is of the bedroom of Napoleans first wife, Empress Josephine which as you can see was lavishly decorated. Cornucopia's, which symbolize abundance and plenty, have been carved into the beds posts and paintings of Greek gods line the walls along with other godly statues and images.
A spectacular view can be seen through the doorway of Josephines bedroom. Her husband Napolean I had a large section of the forest removed for her pleasure. The section measures 6km long by 60m wide and was said to be cleared by Napolean in a single night in order to surprise his wife when she awoke the next morning. In truth it actually took several months to complete just one section and much of the project was completed over several decades. It was eventually finished by Napolean III who can be seen in the image below.
During the tour I myself was mostly interested in the buildings architecture and all of the interesting and unique textures throughout the palace. My wife on the other hand was interested in pretending to be a statue whenever I tried to take a picture of her.
Here we see her in a doorway leading to one of the hallways of an apartment and in the next image she we see her standing on one of the massive staircases.
One of the most impressive rooms in the château is the great ball room. With its parquet floors and giant chandeliers the room is truely spectacular.
To get outside to the royal gardens we had to pass through a dark and somewhat dingy alleyway located between two of the buildings connected to the palace.
The alleyway was a stark contrast from the lush greenery that awaited us on the other side, in the garden.
Viewing the château and the apartments from the outside gives us an idea of the sheer size of the building and its property.
It sits on a large mound and has a massive patio that overlooks the gardens. The stone intermixed with the greenery and the palms in large planter pots, really give the space a tropical sort of feel - in my opinion.
The grounds are filled with several large garden beds, a tunnel made of rose bushes and an assortment of large statues.
My wife and I spent some time walking through the gardens before calling it a day and heading into town for some lunch.
And that concludes our tour of the Château de Compiègne. Thanks for reading.
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