The museums and châteaux of Rueil-Malmaison; heritage and charm
Published on 15 September 2019, dans Hotel
Of course, it’s tough to compete with the centre of Paris and the Palace of Versailles, just about twenty minutes away! Yet the suburb of Rueil-Malmaison has much to be proud of when it comes to heritage. Intimately linked to the memory of the Napoleonic period, it invites you to discover some beautiful and fascinating places during your stay at the Hotel Le Relais de la Malmaison. Here’s some idea of what you can look forward to...
The Château de Malmaison; a national museum
This delightful 17th century château was purchased in 1799 by Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, who at that time was still only First Consul. The future Empress quickly set about renovating what was something of a run-down estate, introducing black swans, building a heated orangery and developing a beautiful rose garden. Before long the place became a centre of power just like the Château des Tuileries. Today the château is a national museum open to visitors. The decor with its gilding and marble is splendid but the more personal items to be seen in the imperial rooms tell their own stories.
Memories of the Emperor Napoleon and his family
While browsing the rooms of the château and wandering the paths of the garden, you will almost feel the presence of Napoleon and Josephine, as so much their personality still permeates the place. The intimacy of the library is a good example of this lingering ambiance. A section of the museum devoted to the life of Napoleon on the island of Saint Helena was opened at the end of 2017. It features artefacts and documents related to the captivity and death of the emperor, including his sofa, dishes, camp bed, liturgical items, toiletries and more. That’s not all, however. Rueil boasts yet more relics of the imperial family, such as the Château de la Petite Malmaison, used by Josephine to escape the pressures of the imperial court, and the Temple of Love she had built to decorate the Malmaison park. Finally, also in the park stands a mausoleum built in memory of the Prince Imperial, son of Napoleon III and Eugenie.
Little gems to discover
Please don’t think that the story of Rueil-Malmaison only begins with Josephine de Beauharnais! To see why, visit the Museum of Local History, which chronicles the evolution of the suburb from its creation under Charles the Bald to the present day. Housed in the lovely old Second Empire-style town hall, the museum has a large collection of documents and artefacts showing how Rueil-Malmaison developed. Curiosities and anecdotes are plentiful, such as the story of the Egyptian child mummy, which we’ll leave you to discover for yourself... Finally, bear in mind that Rueil-Malmaison is located on the Seine and that for more than a century we embraced here the art de vivre of the popular suburban drinking establishments called guinguettes! Make the most of a sunny day by visiting the Giquel, a guinguette once frequented by personalities such as the actress and singer Mistinguett. We recommend it... you’ll find a slightly retro and utterly charming atmosphere.
Inseparable from the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais, Rueil-Malmaison knows how to preserve the soul of the places where these significant figures of history once lived. Explore this vibrant heritage during your stay at the Hotel Le Relais de la Malmaison. We’ll give you all the information you need to plan your visits...
Relais de la Malmaison, an exceptional setting near Paris