Charlottenhof Palace is located southwest of Sanssouci Palace. It is most famous as the summer residence of Crown Prince Frederick William (later King Frederick William IV of Prussia). Officially the palace and park were named Charlottenhof in honor of Maria Charlotte von Gentzkow who had owned the property from 1790 to 1794.
The park area with its various buildings can be traced back to the 18th century. After it had changed hands several times, King Frederick William III of Prussia bought the land that borders the south of Sanssouci Park and gave it to his son Frederick William and his wife Elisabeth Ludovika for Christmas in 1825.
The Crown Prince charged the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel with the remodeling of an already existing farm house and the project was completed at low cost from 1826 through 1829. In the end, Schinkel, with the help of his student Ludwig Persius, built a small neo-classical palace on the foundations of the old farm house in the image of the old Roman villas.
The interior design of the ten rooms is still largely intact. The furniture, for the most part designed by Schinkel himself, is remarkable for its simple and cultivated style.
The palace's most distinctive room is the tent room fashioned after a Roman Caesar's tent. In the tent room both ceiling and walls are decorated with blue and white striped wallpaper and the window treatments and bed tent and coverings continue that design. The room was used as a bedroom for companions and guests. The blue and white theme is continued throughout on the palace's window shutters, it seems, in deference to the Bavarian heritage of then crown princess Elisabeth.
The landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné was charged with the design of the Charlottenhof gardens.He completely recreated the originally flat and partly marshy area into an English garden with trees, lawn and water features. He also linked the new park at Charlottenhof to the older one at Sanssouci from the time of Frederick the Great.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).