Rambouillet – Summer Palace for the President of France


Rambouillet is sort of ‘Camp David’ for the French President; it was the summer house for Kings of France, and much loved by Napoleon.  Much of his decor including his tiny tiny bathtub is still in evidence.  Now the French head of state uses it as a summer house and as a place to entertain foreign dignitaries.  Because of its current use, while one may tour when the President is not in residence, it is not possible to take photos inside.

Like most great chateau it has elaborate parks and gardens.

It would be about half an hour from Paris but we missed the fast train and so decided to take the local — spending our waiting time sitting and reading on the slower train rather than hanging around the station.

The chateau and park are about a kilometer from the train station; it is a pleasant stroll through town.

The grounds are lovely

and well used by locals to picnic and fish.

We enjoyed a picnic in the French garden alongside the chateau.

And then we strolled around the lake and islands.

It is a pleasant natural space filled with coots (yes an interlude for ‘bird pictures’ an E-W tradition)

and swans

and geese

and merganzers.

At the far end of the lake the land is developed into an English garden space with fields and streams; as always some of us are rambling through the gardens  and others of us are reading.

In the English garden this ‘playhouse’ was created for one of the princesses of France.  Louis the XVI who preferred Rambouillet  also built a play milkmaids barn here for Marie Antoinette as he did at Versailles in hope of assuaging her boredom.

While I was rambling I spotted several  interesting game birds — one black bird with a tail much like an American Thanksgiving turkey in white escaped my lens and I have no idea what it was.  I did almost capture the pheasants.

We then headed back around the lake to the chateau; here is glimpse of it across the lake and through the trees.

After circling the lake we came back to the chateau where I toured while Ed hung in the near by town drinking coffee and reading.  Here is a view of the grounds from a window of the chateau.

Rambouillet is a short trip from Paris– many Parisians live here and commute into town —  and offers a pleasant park far from tourist crowds — my chateau tour in French consisted of me and one elderly French couple.  A beautiful and peaceful place.

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One Response to Rambouillet – Summer Palace for the President of France

  1. Millicent says:

    Lovely! Thanks so much for this entry. I have just discovered this exists and thought it might be on the ground of Versailles. Your post was delightful.

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