Chateau de Malmaison -

Ground floor, Napoleon's rooms, Josephine's rooms
Chateau de Malmaison front

History of Chateau de Malmaison

The Chateau of Malmaison was bought by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while her husband, Napoleon, was away fighting one of his wars. When he returned he employed two young architects, Percier and Fontaine to do major renovation work on the house.

There had been a house on the site since 1244, and it had always been called Malmaison (bad house), but no-one appears to know why, as it is a lovely setting. The name may have arisen from the occupants rather than the house.

Chateau de Malmaison back
Back of the chateau

Anyway the name, house and site will always be associated with Josephine and Napoleon, as this was where they felt most at home.

The house you see today is slightly smaller than it was as a wing has been knocked down, and the grounds you see today are only a twentieth the size of the original site purchased by Josephine. However Malmaison is still very much worth a visit.

Getting to Chateau de Malmaison

To get to Malmaison from Paris take the 258 bus that starts from from La Defence. Be sure that the 258 you get on goes all the way to the Chateau, some of the buses only go part of the way, so ask the driver to be sure.

Get off at the stop called Le Chateau; this will take about 20 min. from La Defence. Then cross the road, and walk about 100 m back the way the bus came. You will pass the bus stop for going home. Then turn right and follow the signs for the Chateau. It will take 5 - 10 minutes to walk to the front. If you come by car there is plenty of free parking.

While you are at the Chateau de Malmaison

Although I really enjoyed my visit, and I would have liked to stay longer, there are 2 things you ought to be aware of. Firstly there do not appear to be any toilets in the house, so use those at the entrance before you pay your entrance fee. Secondly, and most surprisingly, there isn't a coffee shop or anywhere to eat, though I do believe there are coffee machines. This is a tragedy as they have the room and a lovely setting. I'm sure you can take a picnic and eat in the grounds, or else there is a bistro near the bus stop.

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