It was the ancient town ramparts that dictated the triangular
plan of the chateau, which resulted in a building that covers around 5 acres in a
simplistic neo-classical style, but unfortunately during the French Revolution it was
Napoleon visited Compiegne in 1799 and 1803, then in 1804 the chateau became an imperial
domain and he commissioned the architect Berthault to make it habitable again and it was
at this time that the layout was changed and the grand ballroom was added. The
garden was also replanted and linked directly to the forest next to this French castle.
The result is a striking example of First Empire style, although some traces of the
earlier décor survive, yet from 1856 Napoleon III and Eugénie made it their autumn
residence and had some of the rooms redecorated in the Second Empire style.
Chateau de Compiegne was one of three seats of royal government with the others being the Chateau de Versailles and Chateau de Fontainebleau.
Situated in Compiegne, which is in the Oise département just outside of Paris, it is often remarked that Compiegne speaks of
Napoleon as Versailles speaks of King Louis XIV.
Today, you can enjoy not just one, but three distinct museums. The first of course,
is the Chateau itself and the apartments of the First Empire, which became a museum in
1926 and this castle aims to show you what it was like for the monarchy and their guests
from the reign of King Louis XVI until the Napoleon III.
You can also get to visit the Museum of the
Second Empire, which is exactly what it says, all connected with Napoleon and the
Second Empire. The third is the National
car and Tourism Museum called Le Musée National de la Voiture et du Tourisme which
was founded in 1927 and holds a collection of different cars, early electric and steam
vehicles along with carriages and cycles.
Another part of Chateau de Compiegne that you would not want to miss are the parks and
gardens along with its statues, although some of the original statues were sent to The Louvre in the 19th century and never returned
yet were replaced by others. But after thorough research from records dating back to
1821, the rose garden has been restored to the original designs and during the flowering
period, this offer visitors a wide variety of colours and scents and is open to the public
for the last four weeks of spring every day from 2.30pm until 6pm.
You can reach the Chateau and its French museums by car
from Paris by taking the motorways A3, and then the A1 and then exit 9 Chevrières or exit
10 Arsy. However, if travelling from Lille you would take the motorway A1 and then
exit 10 Arsy.
Address & Contact Details:
Chateau de Compiegne
Place du Général de Gaulle
Telephone: 3 44 38 47 02