A visit to the Château de la Malmaison
Published on 1 November 2022, dans Not to be missed
Less than 2 km from the Relais de la Malmaison, the Château de la Malmaison is an absolutely fascinating place. Maintaining the memory of its famous inhabitants, Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoleon, it also has a beguiling charm due to its architecture and its beautiful park. During your stay at the Relais de la Malmaison, why not take the opportunity to discover this magnificent site of considerable historic interest?
A place steeped in history
Although its history as a stately home or small château can be traced back to the Middle Ages, the current appearance of the Château de la Malmaison dates from the very beginning of the 17th century. It was the famed imperial couple, Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoleon Bonaparte who had the extensive renovations carried out on what was then a run-down estate. However, you will still find it has a number of ornamental and architectural details reminiscent of the Renaissance. Joséphine was also very attached to her gardens. She wanted to create “…The most beautiful and curious garden in Europe…” and so turned the land into a gorgeous showcase with many rare and exotic plants, a place where the Empress could indulge her passion for the natural sciences, botany and zoology.
Exploring the Château de la Malmaison
During your stay at the Relais de la Malmaison, you can easily discover this historic monument. On foot, it will take you about twenty minutes to get there and about ten minutes by bike, passing along the Seine for part of the route. You can choose to stroll through the gardens or combine a visit to the museum with a visit to the gardens. Guided tours of the museum are available or, if you prefer to explore at your own pace, you can take an audioguide. The Relais de la Malmaison team will be happy to answer your questions and help you organise your visit to the Château. The Jardin de la Malmaison, which has been awarded the Jardin Remarquable label, is also home to several splendid trees, including a cedar of Lebanon planted by the Bonaparte couple in 1800 and a giant Thuja from California. You will also want to see the rose garden that was so dear to Josephine, as well as the beautiful views leading to the château. What’s more, many ecological initiatives are carried out there, such as a meadow promoting biodiversity, an apiary and eco-grazing.
A visit to the Château de la Malmaison takes you into the private world of Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife. You will relive fateful stages in the history of France, the life of the Consulat before the coronation of Napoleon, the divorce of the imperial spouses, and more. Temporary exhibitions are also regularly hosted. Current and until January 9th, 2023, is a retrospective dedicated to a character both famous and unknown, Eugène de Beauharnais. Born from the first marriage of the Empress, Eugene was adopted by the Emperor, with whom he established a sincere affectionate relationship. He was then involved in various battles, leading part of the army for Napoleon until the retreat from Russia. Married to a Bavarian princess, he experienced exile but succeeded in integrating the circle of European ruling families. Passionate about art, he was portrayed by the greatest artists of his time, including Antoine-Jean Gros and Jean-Baptiste Isabey, and surrounded himself with many works, which are exhibited here. Through these paintings, furniture and documents appears an endearing personality who was totally in tune with his time.
A few minutes from the Relais de la Malmaison, the Château de la Malmaison offers the unique charms of its history, architecture and park. It also hosts exciting temporary exhibitions such as the current one dedicated to Prince Eugène de Beauharnais.
Relais de la Malmaison, an exceptional setting near Paris