Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Theatre of Napoleon III

This theatre was finished in 1857 and was designed by Hector Lefuel but was inspired by the royal theatre at Versailles - the Empress was a great admirer of Marie Antoinette which could be why this new theatre resembles the theatre at Petit Trianon. To make room for the new theatre some court apartments had to be torn down - imagine how that was received by the courtiers! The theatre can house 400 guests which fitted perfectly with Napoleon III and his wife's taste for inviting many people. There are four levels: the stalls (called parterres in French), the first level which includes the imperial box, the second level and finally a set of boxes protected with metal bars.

The first time the theatre was used was in May 1857 when Napoleon III received Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, the brother of the Tsar of Russia. For every history enthusiast the stage itself is a gold mine. The layout is still the same as it was when the theatre was built but some of the equipment is believed to be even older and could perhaps even be from the original Comédie Theatre which was the first theatre at Fontainebleau.

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