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Best side trips from Paris

Josephine’s dearest home (Chateau de Malmaison)

Le Chateau de Malmaison is located eight kilometers to the West from Paris, in the town of Rueil-Malmaison. It is most commonly known as the former residence of Napoleon I, the emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, and his wife Josephine de Beauharnais. Before going to Egypt in 1798, Napoleon I gave Josephine the task of finding a country house to her liking. Josephine was immediately charmed by Le Chateau de Malmaison and bought it in 1799, three years after their marriage.

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Chateau de Malmaison

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At first, it was an old house of the 17th century, but renovations by architects Percier and Fontaine (1800 to 1802) turned it into a luxurious castle with all the fashions of the 19th century.

Very fond of botanic, the Empress brought her personal touch in the garden of the castle, adding a number of various plants, statues and more.

Chateau de Malmaison

After their divorce in 1809, due to the infertility of Josephine, Bonaparte allowed her to keep the title of Empress. She continued to live at the Chateau de Malmaison until her death. Still keeping close contact through letters and visits, this was also Napoleon’s last place of residence in France, before he was sent to exile in Elba Isle.

Here is the last letter Josephine sent to Napoleon after learning that he was to go to Elba Isle and that his second wife, Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, didn’t want to accompany him:

Why can I not fly to you? I have been on the point of quitting France to follow you in your footsteps. …Say but the word and I depart. It is no longer but words that my sentiments for you are to be proved, and for actions your consent is necessary. Malmaison has been much respected, and I am surrounded by foreign sovereigns but would rather leave.”

Chateau de Malmaison

Josephine’s bedroom in Malmaison

Shortly after this letter, Josephine caught a cold which turned out to be fatal. On  29th May 1814, the Empress passed away at the age of 50 in the arms of her son Eugene.

Today, the Chateau de Malmaison is open 6 days of the week to the public as a museum. Once a year, in September, there is a dinner where people from the Napoleonic community have special access to the castle and come dressed in Regency clothes!

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OUR EXPERIENCE

We went to the Chateau de Malmaison a few years ago, and it was truly beautiful. You really feel transported to the era when you visit these kinds of monuments. It’s almost as if you were there with Napoleon and Josephine. It was a rainy day when we went but the garden was still amazing. A wonderful place for a walk, even when you have to keep your eyes on the ground to watch out for puddles!

Hanna H.

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HOW TO REACH CHATEAU DE MALMAISON

Le Chateau de Malmaison is in Rueil Malmaison. From la Défense (métro, RER, SNCF, bus) take bus 258, stop “Le Chateau” (25 minutes). Cross the RN13 road and go back to the roundabout. The castle is at 300m, on the right.

The Château opens every day except Tuesdays. Tickets cost 6,50€ (adults). Free every first Sunday of the month. 

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Chateau de Malmaison

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  • Reshma Narasing
    03/28/2017 at 7:54 pm

    I loved the rich history of this place! I’m a history buff and I love those places that take me back in time. A great place to visit!

    • WorldInParis
      03/28/2017 at 8:36 pm

      Oh then you would definitely enjoy to wander around the different rooms of this palace. If you like history stay tuned, I am also a history buff so more history posts to come 😉

  • Vicki Louise
    03/28/2017 at 2:57 am

    Oh my word – what a beautiful chateau. The French do them so well! The history is fascinating and it’s so well preserved, walking through is like walking through history – it’s just so grand!

    • WorldInParis
      03/28/2017 at 8:36 pm

      Yes it is. And the surrounding gardens are also beautiful to explore when the weather is nice 🙂

  • Stacey Veikalas
    03/27/2017 at 10:07 am

    I just love places like this! The history in always fascinating to me and my kids even love it. Love when the are still decorated your pictures take me back in time and history. Looks like a great place to see!

    • WorldInParis
      03/27/2017 at 9:17 pm

      Yes, it is a beautiful place to see and all their personal belongings make the visit even more special. Good that your kids enjoy culture and history 🙂

  • Hugo Cura
    03/26/2017 at 4:26 pm

    I visit Paris many times since I have family there and always on the look for new places to explore. Thankfully, I’ll have Malmaison to visit next!

    • WorldInParis
      04/13/2017 at 7:16 pm

      Lol! Hugo come back to World In Paris from time to time, maybe you will have other things to add to your wish list 😉

  • ankita
    03/25/2017 at 11:32 am

    Amazing! I love places that have a history. Loved your blog, bookmarked for my next escape to paris! 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      11/10/2017 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks ankita for stopping by! Have a nice trip to Paris 🙂

  • carla abanes
    03/25/2017 at 11:20 am

    I miss Paris! The one thing I love about places like this is there is too much history. Thanks for sharing this.

    • WorldInParis
      04/13/2017 at 7:24 pm

      You are welcome. Maybe there will be a second time for you in Paris 😉

  • Lee @ BaldThoughts
    01/25/2017 at 9:11 pm

    I wanted to share your post, but the share buttons are not working. I love the old buildings.

  • Mattie
    10/20/2016 at 3:45 am

    This site is really interesting. I have bookmarked it.

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    I can write hi quality articles for you. Let me know.

  • Helena
    09/28/2016 at 12:45 am

    Wow! I love the history on this place. I think that would be amazing to spend some time here knowing that Napolean lived there! Would love to visit.

  • Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren
    09/26/2016 at 11:29 pm

    Do you think I can move in 😉 What a beautiful place to visit! I’ll be living in Paris for a couple months next year and I’ll make a point to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:41 pm

      2 months in Paris sounds very exciting! Hope you will enjoy the city of lights

  • Jem
    09/26/2016 at 6:24 pm

    Lovely post. Thanks Hanna for sharing this. I’ll sure put it in my shortlist next time I go to Paris. I’d love to wear those regency clothes too.

  • Kerri
    09/26/2016 at 7:56 am

    I love these buildings. It’s one of the things I treasure about Europe the most. Really enjoyed learning all about the history of Malmaison.

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks Kerri 🙂

  • Carmen's Luxury Travel
    09/26/2016 at 7:29 am

    This is going on my list! I love old homes – so historic and charming! Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:38 pm

      Yes, we have many charming buildings with history in Paris 😉 Thanks for your comment Carmen

  • Mike
    09/26/2016 at 6:31 am

    Good to know its free once a month. I’m all about budget travel and look for those kinds of deals. It must have been amazing to be teleported back into the Napoleonic era.

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:39 pm

      You will find lots of budget travel options here for Paris Mike 🙂

  • Castaway with Crystal
    09/25/2016 at 2:40 pm

    Wow what a cool place! I’d love to go visit some time! Glad you had fun 🙂

    Crystal recently posted… 10 of the Dumbest Tourists Ever!

  • Els Mahieu
    09/25/2016 at 11:30 am

    So much history! At the moment I’m still into backpacking but I always tell myself that when I’m older I’ll definitely check out the French chateaux, preferably on a river cruise on the Loire!

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:47 pm

      You can mix backpacking & chateaux, don’t need to wait till you will be older, lol 😉

  • Punita Malhotra
    09/25/2016 at 6:37 am

    I remember reading about this house in a historical fiction book called ‘The Second Empress’ by Michelle Moran. Reading your post reminds me that this is in my wish-list. Sweet little country home with a lot of history attached to it.

    • WorldInParis
      10/05/2016 at 3:42 pm

      I did not know about this book, thanks for the info!

  • Jordan
    09/24/2016 at 10:39 pm

    Looks so stunning and ornate… If only I could live there. Hope to visit sometime soon, Ill add to the ever growing list!

  • Francois Geneve
    04/19/2016 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you Hanna for your post. I always enjoy my visits to Malmaison every time I manage to find an opportunity. I would live to partake in one of the September dinner there as it must be an amazing experience to be transported back in time. I recall a very nice luncheon I had with a Napoleonic group at the petite Malmaison ( Josephine’s former green house ) in 2004 during the bi-centennial festivities. I always love to return to Malmaison and like you enjoy the walk in the garden.