Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chateau de Malmaison - an empress' manor house

The British Royal wedding is coming up, therefore a visit to a charming empress' country house should seem like a splendid idea.
This specific small chateau is one of the closest to Paris and should be on your list of castle visits when coming to or living in Paris. I would call it 'yet another reason why Versailles shouldn't necessarily be your first pick'. Yes, Versailles is the symbol of French monarchy and a beautiful architectural piece, but years of high tourist numbers tend to drain the substance out of such a historical site. Plus a photo with you and the castle doesn't seem as special when you take it with a few hundred fellow visitors.

Chateau de Malmaison made its way into history when it was bought by Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, a couple of hundred years ago.
The origins of the name are uncertain. Malmaison, from the Latin mala domus, means bad house. There's the assumption that it might stem from the bad or poor attendance during the Middle Ages (e.g.: thieves, Norman invasions)

After her divorce from Napoléon, Joséphine received Malmaison in her own right, along with a pension of 5 million francs a year, and remained there until her death in 1814. Napoléon returned and took residence in the house after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (1815), before his exile to the island of Saint Helena. (from Wikipedia)

Ticket is 6 EUR full price and free if under 26. 
I didn't have an ID with me to prove it, but they were nice enough to just ask me really fast what is my year of birth. 1987 (mille neuf cent quatre vingt sept), with my intermediary French level, went out rather slowly and the guy had to ask 'Madame, vous etes sure? / Miss, are you sure?'; they still let me in as an under 26 year old, but I'm glad to have a funny story and memory of the Malmaison visit...