Monday, November 17, 2014

Cerise went to #Paris, came home w. tales of #Josephine's #Malmaison (and ate best #frites ever!) Part 3

My pix of entrance to Malmaison, taken a few weeks ago!
Bet you didn't know that Malmaison means Bad House. Who named it that? Not Josephine Bonaparte. Not Napoleon, either.

The Vikings!

Yes. They used to raid and hunt in the forests around town of Malmaison-Rueil and the French named the area the Bad House or Bad Area because no one should be caught there.

That, my friends, is one tidbit I learned on my recent 2 week trip to France. On the day hubby and I took the RER to Rueil, the sun was gloriously shining and the temperature hovered in the mid-60s. We walked from the train station, turned down an offer of a cabbie to drive us to Josephine's house and hoofed it toward the south east part of the town. Two miles later, we looked around and said, as we often did, we're hungry. We decided on a FAB.U.LOUS cafe in the center of town and ordered two champagnes (cuz tourists get thirsty) and our luncheon.  Here, (yes, I want you to drool), I had a marvelous French onion soup and a hamburger with frites.
A pillar in the entry.


The house is in pristine condition, saved by the French at the behest of Josephine herself. When she died in 1814, she bequeathed the house and all its contents to her son, Eugene who was to keep it in trust for the State of France. For the most part, his descendants were able to do that and the result is this truly enjoyable house.

Yes, as hubby agreed, it is a home. Comfortable and colorful and rich, the house is a marvelous representation of Josephine's taste. I have pictures galore and will share the best.

Here you see detail from a pillar in the entryway. When Josephine bought the house, as ever, she was in need of funds. She wanted to make the house look grand, especially because Napoleon had just waged his Egyptian Campaign. She wished to welcome him with symbols of that and so when she had the entryway reconstructed for his return, she asked for marble pillars. But she had not the money for marble. The pillars are therefore stucco and painted to appear as if they are marble. This decoration recalls the Egyptian influence atop the faux marble!

Here is the glory of Josephine's Music Room where she entertained and had others do so as well! More pictures
of this in Part 2 of her house.

Throughout the house, color and textures are vibrant. Most of the furniture is original to the house or was brought from other homes Josephine shared with Napoleon. The effect is dramatic and comforting. Also throughout are representations of Napoleon in various forms. In sculpture and painting, this house where he lived with Josephine from approximately 1798 until he became emperor is filled with his presence.
A marble bust of Napoleon in a side stairway!

Oil by David of Napoleon Crossing the Alps in a room with many of his swords and uniforms.

Oil of Napoleon celebrating the Italian Campaign.

Josephine's gardens, most famous for her roses, were in bloom when we visited. Though it was mid-October, the gardeners had done their work and we were treated to glorious blooms.

All of these pictures are mine, FYI, so if you take any to use, please credit me as Cerise DeLand.
Thank you and return for more of the joy of Josephine's house in a few days!

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