Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cerise went to #Paris and came home w. tales of Josephine from #Malmaison! Part 4

Entrance to enchanting Malmaison
Josephine's home in what is now suburban Paris truly gives the feeling of having been hers. From the decor to the flower gardens, the furniture and appointments, the house is a glorious example of Directorate and Imperial decor.

But it tells you about the feeling conveyed by what we Anglophiles call the period, the Regency. The colors are muted, pastoral, juxtaposed by splashes of vermilion, encrusted in gold filigree.

I showed you one pillar from the lobby and parts of Josephine's reception room or Music Room. Here I give you tastes of more.
(Do please note these are my pictures and while they may not be professional grade, please do cite them as my copyright, should you download and use them.)
Seating in one part of her large and inviting Music Room

Napoleon's bedroom made to look like a military tent!

Portrait of Josephine

Josephine's Boudoir with her dressing table
Josephine's Bathing room where she bathed, dressed and
occasionally ate because it was so warm in here!
One set of gold plated serving ware created for the Empress and Emperor, bequeathed to Josephine's son, Eugene.
The service, passing down through generations of Eugene's descendants, wound up in Russia prior to WWI.
Between the two world wars, the owners sold the set back to the State of France.

Josephine's gardens, famous when she was alive for their beauty, astonish visitors still today. The French government cares for the property, employing landscapers and gardeners. Here, even in mid-October, we see one of her rose bushes in beautiful bloom.

Today a trip to Rueil-Malmaison on the RER from Paris is a joy. The town retains the charm of its former smaller self and Josephine's house is tucked into a corner of it, a bit of a walk from the train station but worth it on a fine day.

What I came away with was a feeling of how much Josephine enjoyed the house, how she relished the gardens and how she lavishly entertained. It is a fine credit to her that she had the foresight to leave the house and its contents to her son and that he tried, as did the family and subsequent non-family owners, to keep the possessions in tact. Though time and wars took their toll and many of the items in the house are now "claimed" from the palace at Saint Cloud or the Tuileries, the house is a marvelous representation of the Empress's personality and taste.

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