Rambouillet, imperial residence

In November 1804, Napoleon 1er Discover for the first time the Château de Rambouillet, registered in the civil list of the residences of the Crown since Louis XVI.

Its geographical location, only fifty kilometers from Paris, its vast game-filled forest and its beautiful gardens aroused the interest of the Emperor. Here is an area in which it is good to live in “private”, far from the strict etiquette governing the life of sovereigns in official residences. Napoleon enjoyed it: according to historians, he spent about sixty days of his reign at the castle, sometimes for a few hours or sometimes for a few days. Quite a significant figure for this emperor fond of the battlefields...

Napoleon 1st in Rambouillet
Napoleon bathroom

Many beautification works

After a few years of abandonment following the French Revolution, the castle presents the arrival of the Emperor a very sad aspect. Restoration work was therefore quickly undertaken, transforming the face of this old medieval residence in many ways: • A wing of the main building was demolished, still giving the castle a very unique appearance today; • The main entrance has been completely redesigned: the new grand staircase leads on one side to the Empress's apartments and on the other to those of the Emperor; • The rooms have been brought up to date, in particular the courtyard apartment (Marie-Antoinette's small apartment) which has been given a rich neoclassical decor.

The Emperor's bathroom: neoclassical masterpiece

A bathroom was fitted out in the Emperor's small apartment. It still presents today a magnificent neoclassical painted decoration created by the artist Godard. The room, reduced in size, has an alcove housing the original bathtub of the emperor. Following the fashion of the time, the decor is inspired by the ancient repertoire: Glories, Apollo's lyre, frieze of triglyphs and metopes, cornucopias, and mythological animals are deployed there. It also declines the numerous symbols of the regime (“N”, Eagle surrounded by the laurel wreath, the bee), and the evocation of imperial acts (Constitution, Cross of the Legion of Honor, etc.).

Medallions painted by the artist Jean Vasserot adorn the whole. Originally, these featured the portraits of members of the Imperial family. But the emperor finding this inappropriate, asked the artist to modify them.
Then take place views of sites, castles or monuments related to these same people, intended to replace their portraits while allowing them to be identified.

Attached to this former royal residence, Napoleon I therefore carried out its embellishment, not hesitating to irreversibly transform the face of this former royal residence. The emperor spent a last night in these places on June 29, 1815, at the time of his final exile.

Rambouillet Imperial City Label

Each city that is a member of the "Imperial City" brand network has a magnificent heritage linked to the First and/or Second Empire. Rambouillet has many traces of the passage of Napoleon 1er in the city

Napoleon 1er donated the Bailliage, the current Town Hall, to the Rambolitans. You will be able to observe a plaque placed on the facade indicating the inscription: “Hôtel de Ville given to the inhabitants by Napoleon the Great in 1809”.

In 1812, Napoleon 1er rebuilt and transformed the former government building, originally built on the orders of Louis XVI, to serve as a palace for his son named Aiglon or the King of Rome, hence the name given to this currently building.

Rambouillet Imperial City Label