The Château de Malmaison is a country house outside Paris that was once the residence of Joséphine de Beauharais, the first wife of Napoleon I and the first Empress of the French. At one time the château was also the headquarters of the French government.
Joséphine de Beauharais purchased the Château de Malmaison in 1799 for the large sum of 30,000 francs while Napoleon I was away fighting the Egyptian Campaign. As the château had fallen into a state of disrepair, Joséphine spent an enormous sum of money renovating the manor.
While Joséphine owned the house she created a veritable menagerie with exotic animals such as kangaroos, llamas, zebras, ostriches and even a seal. She also built a heated orangery and greenhouse. After her divorce with Napoleon in 1809 Joséphine kept the home, where she remained until her death in 1814.
The château is decorated with a sense of elegance and opulence. Many of the rooms feature enormous chandeliers as well as black and white checkerboard tile floors. The library is particularly notable with a painted vaulted ceiling.
The Château de Malmaison is located in Rueil-Malmaison, a wealthy suburb seven miles east of Paris. To access the chateau via public transportation, take the Paris commuter train, the RER, to RER A stop “La Defense.” Then take bus 258 and disembark at the Le Château stop. It is also possible to drive by taking the RN 13 from Paris and navigating to the address, Avenue du Château de Malmaison in Rueil-Malmaison. The full price of admission is €6.50, but garden admission alone is €1.50. The château waives the admission fee to all visitors under the age of 18 and all EU-residents from 18-25. The château also offers free admission to all visitors the first Sunday of every month.