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Chateau de Compiegne Near Paris

The Compiegne area was the preferred place for the French monarchs in the summer months because of the hunting opportunities available and the first royal residence to be built here was built for King Charles V in 1374.   Numerous successors visited and extended the castle and modified it and King Louis XIV resided in Compiegne around 70 times, yet King Louis XV was even more impressed.

The Chateau de Compiegne that we can see today is a French castle that was designed by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel as a royal residence for King Louis XV and was started in 1751 yet finished by the architects student, Le Dreux de La Chatre in 1788.

Chateau Compiegne

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Chateau de Compiegne Near Paris

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 basically gutted.

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
Compiègne
60200
Oise
France

Telephone: 3 44 38 47 02


Chateau de Compiegne



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