Friday, 3 April 2015

Château de Saint-Cloud

The château de Saint-Cloud became a royal residence in 1658 when Philippe, Duc d'Orlèans bought the estate for 240.000. Apparently, the young prince had become enamoured by the château during a fête two weeks earlier and decided to make it his own.

Philippe was very fond of his Saint-Cloud and continued to expand and embellish it until his death in 1701. To make sure that everything turned out the way he wished, Philippe hired Antoine le Pautre to carry out the design while Jean Nocret was put in charge of the decorations of the lady of the house's apartment. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest attractions of the château was the Great Gallery which took up an entire wing. Pierre Mignard decorated it with mythological scenes.

Saint-Cloud was the main seat of Monsieur's family and would witness both the births of several children and the death of their mother. Philippe's elder brother, Louis XIV, came to visit in 1677 and was probably annoyed at the splendour of the Great Gallery - the King had nothing to compete with it yet. No doubt the King liked the gardens as well considering that they were designed by his favourite André le Nôtre. It is estimated that Monsieur spent 156.000 livres in total on the château.

The Ducs d'Orlèans kept Saint-Cloud as their main seat outside Versailles for most of the 18th century. None of Philippe's heirs seems to have been particularly eager to alter the château's appearance. It was not until 1785 that Saint-Cloud was bought by Louis XVI as a present for Marie Antoinette for 6.000.000 livres.
Marie Antoinette set out to alter her new estate to her own tastes with the help of Richard Mique. Usually, the royal residences were furnished by the royal stock of furniture called the Garde Meubles which was also the case for Saint-Cloud for the first months of Marie Antoinette's ownership. Since then furniture was commissioned especially for the château.

Sadly, the château de Saint-Cloud burned down in 1870 and what remained after the fire was demolished on the orders of Empress Eugénie.


View of the gardens

Front view
Ground floor

The first floor

Amazing virtual reconstruction

1 comment:

  1. "...What remained after the fire was demolished on the orders of Empress Eugénie." That is a very strange thing to say, since the Empress had long been in exile in England by the time Saint-Cloud was demolished in 1891; she certainly had nothing to do with its final destruction.