Château de Compiègne

Compiègne, France

The Château de Compiègne is a royal residence built for Louis XV and restored by Napoleon. Compiègne was one of three seats of royal government, the others being Versailles and Fontainebleau. It is located in Compiègne in the Oise department and is open to the public.

Even before the chateau was constructed, Compiègne was the preferred summer residence for French monarchs, primarily for hunting given its proximity to Compiègne Forest. The first royal residence was built in 1374 for Charles V, and a long procession of successors both visited it and modified it. Louis XIV resided in Compiègne some 75 times.

In 1750, prominent architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel proposed a thorough renovation of the chateau. Work began in 1751 and was finished in 1788 by Gabriel's student Le Dreux de La Châtre. The ancient town ramparts dictated the château's triangular plan; the resultant building covers about 5 acres. It is Neoclassical in style, with simplicity and clarity governing both its external and interior features.

During the French Revolution, the château passed into the jurisdiction of the Minister for the Interior. In 1795 all furniture was sold and its works of art were sent to the Muséum Central; it was essentially gutted. Napoleon visited in 1799 and again in 1803. In 1804 the château became an imperial domain and in 1807 he ordered it be made habitable again. Architects Berthault, Percier and Fontaine, decorators Dubois and Redouté, and cabinetmakers Jacob-Desmalter and Marcion restored the château. Its layout was altered, a ballroom added, and the garden was replanted and linked directly to the forest.

The result is an example of First French Empire style (1808-1810), though some traces of the earlier décor survive. From 1856 on, Napoleon III and Eugénie made it their autumn residence, and redecorated some rooms in the Second Empire style.

Today's visitors can find three distinct museums within the chateau: the apartments themselves, the Museum of the Second Empire and the National Car Museum, founded in 1927, with a collection of carriages, bicycles, and automobiles.

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Details

Founded: 1751
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Théo Thomas (9 months ago)
A beautiful place. The park is definitely worth the detour
Michael Smith (Spike) (9 months ago)
I don't usually pay to go into castles as generally I'm happy enough with the outside. But this one was well worth the 10 Euros. Plus, the garden is amazing.
Laura Keciri (12 months ago)
Really beautiful inside and out! Loved visiting this rich castle in history and architecture and art!
Fiona W. (2 years ago)
Highly recommend ? Definitely worth a visit! We paid 15€ for two adults (kids were free) and we spent almost an hour visiting the enormous palace and the beautiful paintings. The souvenir shop also provides a number of different items for guests. Will visit again!
Pauline (2 years ago)
Very beautiful site. For just €7.50 you get access to three museums within the palace, i.e. the residence rooms, the empress museum and the national car museum. I think they are all worth seeing, in particular the first two with beautiful paintings and tapestries and other artworks. Car museums are not quite my thing usually but this one is not too big and you get to see historic coaches and bikes which are quite funny. Then you can freely access the park which offers some really nice shaded spaces and lawns and boasts a beautiful rose garden. I really liked this visit!
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