The château of Saint-Cloud was
built during the second half of the 17th century, a few years before Versailles, by King Louis XIV’s only brother, the Duke Philippe of Orléans. It was a part of the royal Orléans family property for more than a century.
The castle was used to entertain the Russian Tsar Peter I in 1717, the American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in 1786, the Algerian religious and military leader Emir Abdelkader in 1852, or Queen Victoria of Great Britain in 1855, for instance.
In 1784, five years before the onset of the French Revolution,
King Louis XVI bought the palace for his wife, Queen Marie-Antoinette. She commissioned major renovations and enlargements. Because of the château’s proximity to Paris, it was the second most favorite dwelling of the three 19th century French sovereigns including Emperors Napoleon I and Napoleon III and King Louis-Philippe.
Each of these French leaders not only lived at
the castle during parts of their reigns but also
used the palace as the opulent setting of some
of their most sumptuous receptions.
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the French army shot its cannons towards the Prussian-occupied grounds of Saint-Cloud to make the German soldiers retreat. During the assault, an explosive shell fell on the château and set it on fire, burning it to the ground. The remaining ruins were demolished in 1891 when the decision was made not to reconstruct the building.
Saint-Cloud as it was in about 1700. On the right, the river Seine.
Germany recently launched a similar project to reconstruct the
castle of Berlin for which the first stone was laid on
2013. The German people understand that historic monuments attract tourism, economic revenue and job growth while at the same time enriching the nation’s culture.
floor plans and pictures of the château would make the duplication feasible, and the setting would be all the more appealing because of Saint-Cloud’s luxuriant park designed by the royal gardener André Le Nôtre.
Once rebuilt, and the reception rooms recreated identically, this building -- which had, from the beginning, dozens of rooms to accommodate guests -- could partly house a luxury hotel, a gastronomic restaurant, shops, conference rooms, and thus become a center for international seminars, creating a major tourist venue in France. Therefore, in order to outline the various economic opportunities generated by this "rebirth", the "Atelier Cos" (the architect of the "Ritz" hotel in Paris and the "White Horse" in Courchevel) conducted an extensive
architectural study in 2014. From there on, the construction management company "Gleeds France" has estimated the total cost of this operation to an average of
€ 185 million.
Since restoring the castle of Saint-Cloud is an international effort, a group of supporters in the United States, headed by Mitchell Cantor of New York, recently chartered "The American Friends of the Château de Saint-Cloud" to raise funds not only for the rebuilding, but to educate Americans about the project’s potential importance as a major cultural center and world heritage site.
Location remained devoid of any building (yew arranged in "U" and cut cone materialize the location of the building that still has all its foundations, or 25%).
"Reconstruisons Saint-Cloud !"
33 bis, boulevard du Château
Models made by Philippe LE PAREUX (photos reworked by Daniel Eon).
In 1784, Louis XVI bought the chateau for Marie Antoinette, who subsequently commissioned architect Richard Mique to make changes to the rear part of the building and to the south wing.
In addition, she transformed the main entrance, placing the main door at the center of the courtyard so that visitors would enter through the royal staircase and vestibule inside.
Vestibule and Staircase of Honor.
To the left and right, pictures showing Napoleon III welcoming Queen Victoria to the Universal Exposition of 1855 at the foot of the Staircase of Honor.
Plan of the first floor designed by architect Richard Mique in 1787. The identity of the rooms correspond to the names they were called during the reign of Napoleon III.
After mounting the Staircase of Honor, a guest entered the main reception floor which led to the Grand Apartments situated on the right (north) wing which Monsieur had descorated in the stule of the 17th century with the exception of the Royal Chapel which Marie-Antoinette commissioned Richard Mique to design.
Antechamber of the Great Apartments (permitting access to the Salon of Mars).
Salon of Mars.
Salon of Mars overdoor.
Salon of Mars (at the rear a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte).
Salon of Mars (permitting access to the Gallery of Apollo).
Gallery of Apollo (vaulted ceiling painted by Pierre Mignard).
Vaulted ceiling painted by Pierre Mignard.
Fall of Icarius.
Apollo and Virtue.
Detail of the vaulter ceiling (Apollo at Parnassus surrounded by the Muses).
Gallery of Apollo (the left part of the room leading to the Salon of Diane).
Salon of Diane (permitting access to the tribune of the Royal Chapel).
Royal Chapel (constructed by the architect Richard Mique on commission by Marie-Antoinette).
At the far end of the right wing of the main floor were the Gallery of Apollo and the Royal Chapel. Returning to the central part of the chateau, visitors passed through the Salon of Mars which led to the left wing divided into a series of five salons.
Salon of Venus.
Salon of Truth.
Salon of Mercury.
Salon of Aurora (with the leaded glass doors at the rear) and the stairway commissioned by Marie-Antoinette.
Reception salon of the Empress (permitting access to her office).
The Empress’ office (permitting access to her dressing room).
The Emperor’s bedroom (in which the fatal fire ignited on October 13, 1870).
Photograph of the Chateau of Saint-Cloud taken during the Second Empire (and colorized by Philippe Le Pareux).
Photograph of the ruins after the fire taken during the Third Republic.
Watercolor of the chateau painted by Valentin Fiumefreddo in 2011.