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The Malmaison, a refuge for Empress Joséphine

The Malmaison, a cherished refuge for Empress Joséphine when she wanted to escape the constraints of court life, is the intimate and bucolic echo to the formal beauty of the hôtel particulier Baudard de Saint-James.

Photos : © Aurore Markowski and Julien Verdier

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From the official to the intimate

The classical architecture of the Place Vendôme is prolonged at la Malmaison with a passion for Greco-Roman and Renaissance styles shared by the imperial couple. The memory of Chopin’s stay on Place Vendôme is celebrated by Joséphine’s love of music, expressed by the intimate Music Room.

Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
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From left to right:

Centaur sculptures in the gardens. The dining room in the Malmaison chateau. A detail of the library’s celestial globe. Boudoir of the Empress.

The English gardens created by Joséphine are bountiful, asymmetric and filled with secret havens and niches. The exotic plants she cultivated were a reminder of her fragrant childhood in Martinique. Nitot even experienced an embarrassing moment in the château’s gardens when, on a visit to present his latest bill, he was urgently told to hide behind some bushes while the empress improvised a moment of passion with the emperor, thus obtaining the sum due to the jeweller… Vendôme and Malmaison, from the official to the intimate…

Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
Malmaison Chaumet
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From left to right:

The gardens. A neo-classical perspective on the ground floor. On the staircase, a marble bust of Napoléon 1st in the style of Canova. The billiards room.

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