woensdag 14 maart 2012

The Château de Saint-Cloud

The Château de Saint-Cloud was a Palace in France, built on a magnificent site overlooking the Seine at Saint-Cloud in Hauts-de-Seine, about 10 kilometres west of Paris. Today it is a large park on the outskirts of the capital and is owned by the state, but the area as a whole has had a large part to play in the history of France. The castle's grounds are part of today's Parc de Saint-Cloud. 

The Saint-Cloud orangery was the setting for the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire (10 November 1799), in which the Directoire was suppressed and the Consulat declared. Less than five years later, Napoléon Bonaparte was proclaimed as Emperor of the French on 18 May 1804 at Saint-Cloud. Saint-Cloud was later used by Bonaparte's family and was their main seat along with the Palais des Tuileries in Paris.

19th century
Napoleon made Saint-Cloud his preferred residence and transformed the Salon de Vénus to a throne room, which Saint-Cloud had naturally lacked, but neither he nor the occupants to follow did much more to Saint-Cloud than works of interior decoration. When the Prussians captured it in 1814, they supposedly found Altdorfer's The Battle of Alexander at Issus hanging in the Emperor's bathroom.

Today, only a few outbuildings and its park of 460 hectares remains, constituting the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud. It includes the garden à la française designed by Le Nôtre, Marie-Antoinette's flower garden (where roses for the French state are grown), a garden à l'anglaise from the 1820s (the Trocadéro garden), ten fountains, and a viewpoint of Paris known as "la lanterne", because a lantern was lit there when the Emperor Napoléon I was in residence. 
In October 1801, the First Consul Napoleon Bonapart ordered the reappointment of Saint-Cloud. Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, the two most fashionable architects of the day, altered and decorated the imperial châteaux of Malmaison, Compiègne, and Saint-Cloud. ClaudeGalle, an important bronze caster and gilder, received an order from Napoleon for the Château of Saint-Cloud worth more than 65,000 francs. After being rearranged and refurbished, the palace of Saint-Cloud became the official center of consular and subsequent imperial power. Seated at the hourglass-shaped desk of his own design at Saint-Cloud with its busts of Caesar and Hannibal, Napoleon wrote his dispatches. As the main headquarters of Napoleon, Saint-Cloud became the scene of many significant political and personal events of his era, most notably: the proclamation of the empire in 1804 in the Galerie d'Apollon; the baptism of Louis-Napoleon by Pope Pius VII in 1805; the civil marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise in 1810; the celebrations for the baptism of the King of Rome in 1811.

The palace of Saint-Cloud was destroyed during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Only the picturesque park remainsgeorgianindex/Napoleon/Saint-Cloud/


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