Château de la Petite Malmaison

Rueil-Malmaison, France

The Château de la Petite Malmaison was built between 1803 and 1805 for Joséphine de Beauharnais, owner of the neighboring Château de Malmaison. It was a reception pavilion adjacent to a large greenhouse, since destroyed. The large greenhouse was begun in 1804 by the landscape architect Jean-Marie Morel and completed by the end of 1805 according to plans by Jean-Thomas Thibault and his partner Barthélemy Vignon.

It was the first time in France that glass was used for such a large surface. The greenhouse of Malmaison can be considered the forerunner of the great glass and metal architecture of the 19th century. It was about 50 by 19 metres and was divided into two distinct sections. The greenhouse itself, heated by twelve large stoves, in which trees 5 metres high could grow. Josephine cultivated plants like jasmine, rose, hydrangea and Parma violet.

Behind and adjacent to it, a building housed a series of salons. A central salon with a rotunda was decorated by Louis-Martin Berthault in 1807, from where it was possible to view rare plants while resting after visiting the greenhouse. The roof was luxuriously decorated and furnished by the best craftsmen of the time such as the marble mason Gilet and the cabinetmaker Jacob Desmalter.

The park was designed in the English style, also by Louis-Martin Berthault, named as landscape designer to the Empress Josephine.

Due to the expense of maintenance, the greenhouse was demolished in 1827. The rooms were partly redecorated in 1828 by the new owner, the Swedish banker Jonas-Philip Hagerman. After the sale of the estate in lots in 1878, in 1887 the Petite Malmaison became the property of Pascal of the Two Sicilies (1852-1904), Count of Bari, youngest son of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, who lived in his Parisian hotel at 8 avenue Matignon, but died in the Petite Malmaison in 1904.

The subdivision of the park separated the Petite Malmaison from the Château de Malmaison. The park, planted with chestnut, cedar, bald cypress, yew and boxwood, is treated as an English park, but the rear has traces of the French style. There is a pond.



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Founded: 1803-1804
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in France


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jeremie Henry (7 months ago)
Very friendly place, with a very informative and very pleasant guided tour made by the owner.
rhin rhin (8 months ago)
Superb. Passionate and exciting guide. I can't wait for the grants to arrive because there is a lot of work to be done.
Raphael FRONTIER (16 months ago)
Building and historical park (Napoleon). Decorations, marble and interesting paintings. And especially, concerts or plays regularly given in the lounge with a small stage. A very warm welcome and a guided tour (ask) exciting and illuminating.
Patrice Vol (2 years ago)
Les concerts du comité Talma sont toujours d'excellente qualité. L'accueil du propriétaire du château est toujours aussi chaleureux.
Myles Jacobs (3 years ago)
Great place to spend half the day on trees. Also have a nice huge trampoline. It's a 2o minutes car ride from Paris and only 10 from La Defance
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.


The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.