This itinerary takes you on a voyage of discovery, discovery not only of Bonaparte first Consul but also of Josephine the first mistress of Rueil-Malmaison. For it was in effect on her initiative that the château was purchased in 1799 and transformed by the architects Percier and Fontaine into what was to become the couple's preferred residence during the entire Consulate period. Although Josephine was occasionally elsewhere during the first years of the Empire, Malmaison became her refuge after the divorce in 1809 and it was here that she passed away in 1814.
Set about six miles outside Paris, Rueil-Malmaison is a town steeped in Napoleonic history. But there is more besides. Malmaison is also the charming village which worked its magic on Josephine. This itinerary is designed to be done in a day but those who prefer a leisurely stroll and a pretty walk could take two days or even longer. Come with us on a voyage back in time to a site which today is fragmentary but which under the Empire was a property spreading over nearly a thousand hectares, the Malmaison Estate.
(July 1996 - trans P.Hicks and others)