Château de Rambouillet

The Château de Rambouillet, also known in English as the Castle of Rambouillet, is a château in the town of Rambouillet, Yvelines department, in the Île-de-France region in northern France, 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Paris. It was the summer residence of the Presidents of the French Republic from 1896 until 2009, and it is now managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux.[1]

Château de Rambouillet 2013
The château seen from its French formal garden
Ch de Rambouillet, Ile de France 1987
The château seen from the tapis vert across the central canal


The château was originally a fortified manor dating back to 1368 and, although amputated of its eastern wing at the time of Napoleon, it still retains its pentagonal bastioned footprint. King Francis I died there, on 31 March 1547, probably in the imposing medieval tower that bears his name. Like the Hôtel de Rambouillet in Paris, the château was owned by Charles d'Angennes, the marquis de Rambouillet during the reign of Louis XIII.[2] Avenues led directly from the park of the chateau into the adjacent game-rich forest. More than 200 square kilometres of forest remain, the remnant of the Forest of Rambouillet, also known as Forêt d'Yveline or Forêt de l'Yveline.

In 1783, the château became the private property of king Louis XVI, who bought it from his cousin, the duc de Penthièvre, as an extension of his hunting grounds.[3] Queen Marie-Antoinette, who accompanied her husband on a visit in November 1783, is said to have exclaimed: "Comment pourrais-je vivre dans cette gothique crapaudière!" (How could I live in such a gothic toadhouse!) However, to induce his wife to like his new acquisition, Louis XVI commissioned in great secret the construction of the renowned Laiterie de la Reine, (the Queen's dairy),[4] where the buckets were of Sèvres porcelain, painted and grained to imitate wood, and the presiding nymph was a marble Amalthea, with the goat that nurtured Jupiter, sculpted by Pierre Julien. A little salon was attached to the dairy itself, with chairs supplied by Georges Jacob in 1787 that had straight, tapering stop-fluted legs[5]

During the French Revolution, the domain of Rambouillet became bien national, the chateau being emptied of its furnishings and the gardens and surrounding park falling into neglect.[6]

During the reign of Napoleon I, Rambouillet was included in his liste civile (list of government-owned property at the disposal of the head of state). The emperor came several times to Rambouillet, the last being on the night of 29–30 June 1815, on his way to exile to Saint Helena. Among the reminders of Napoléon are the Pompeian style bathroom with its small bathtub and the exquisite balcony built to link the emperor's apartment to that of his second wife, the empress Marie-Louise. Another reminder of Napoléon was the splendid Allée de Cyprès chauves de Louisiane, a double-lined bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) avenue.[7]

At the time of the Bourbon Restoration, Rambouillet was again included in the royal liste civile. Fifteen years after Napoleon I, Charles X's road to exile also started at Rambouillet.[8] On 2 August 1830, he signed his abdication here in favour of his nine-year-old grandson, the Duke of Bordeaux. It took twenty minutes to talk his son, the Duke of Angoulême, into, reluctantly, countersigning the document, thus abandoning his rights to the throne of France in favor of his nephew.[9]

From 1830 to 1848, the domain of Rambouillet, which had belonged to his grandfather, the duc de Penthièvre, was not included in Louis Philippe I's liste civile; however, begged to do so by the townspeople, the emperor Napoléon III, who reigned from 1852 to 1870, requested its inclusion in his.[10]

After the fall of Napoleon III in 1870, which saw the beginning of the French Third Republic, the domain of Rambouillet was leased from 1870 to 1883 to the duc de la Trémoille. In February 1896, Rambouillet received a visit from President Félix Faure who then decided to spend his summers there with his family. Since, the château of Rambouillet has become the summer residence of France's Presidents of the Republic, who entertain, and used to invite to hunting parties many foreign dignitaries, princes and heads of state. As a part-time residence of the French president, it is sometimes referred to as the Palace of Rambouillet.

On 23 August 1944, two days before the liberation of Paris, General Charles de Gaulle arrived at Rambouillet and set up his headquarters in the chateau where, in the evening, he met General Philippe Leclerc who, at the head of his French 2nd Armored Division (2e Division blindée, more affectionately known in France as La Deuxième DB), had mission to liberate Paris. Part of the French 2nd Armored Division was to leave from Rambouillet at dawn the following day, on its march "to capture Paris".[11] On August 25, around 2 p.m., "both wrought with emotion and filled with serenity",[12] General de Gaulle left Rambouillet by car to enter "Paris libérée".

In November 1975, the first "G6" summit was organized in the château by French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing for the heads of the world's leading industrialized countries. Attending were: Gerald Ford (United States), Harold Wilson (United Kingdom), Aldo Moro (Italy), Takeo Miki (Japan) and Helmut Schmidt (West Germany).

The château de Rambouillet continues to be used as a venue for bilateral summits and, in February 1999, was host to the negotiations on Kosovo. (See Kosovo War.)

On 26 December 1999, Hurricane Lothar[13][14] hit the northern half of France, wreaking havoc to forests, parks and buildings. The Forest of Rambouillet lost hundreds of thousands of trees, and among the over five thousand downed trees in the park of Rambouillet, was the handsome, historical Allée de Cyprès chauves de Louisiane, the bald cypress avenue planted in 1810.


  1. ^ Château de Rambouillet, official website].
  2. ^ G. Lenotre, Le Château de Rambouillet, six siècles d'histoire, Denoël, Paris, 1988, chapter 2: Les Précieuses, pp. 19–33.
  3. ^ ib. G. Lenotre, chapter 5: Le prince des pauvres, pp. 71–79.
  4. ^ Le Château de Rambouillet - Illustration 12 - Présidence de la République Archived 2008-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Eriksen, Svend, Early Neo-Classicism in France, Faber & Faber, London, 1974, p. 89.
  6. ^ ib. G. Lenotre, chapter 8: L'ouragan, pp. 98–109.
  7. ^ ib. G. Lenotre, chapter 9: L'empereur, pp. 111–133; chapter 11: L'aigle abattu, pp. 139, 143.
  8. ^ ib. G. Lenotre, chapter 14: Les lis fauchés, pp. 159–176.
  9. ^ Castelot, André, Charles X, La fin d'un monde, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris, 1988, chapt. L'Abdication, pp. 490-491
  10. ^ ib. G. Lenotre, chapter 16: Depuis 1830, pp. 181–187.
  11. ^ Winieska, Françoise, August 1944, the Liberation of Rambouillet, France, Société Historique et Archéologique de Rambouillet et de l'Yveline (SHARY), Rambouillet, 1999, pp. 220-229, ISBN 2-9514047-0-0 (French & English)
  12. ^ General de Gaulle's own words, from the famous speech he made in Paris on 26 August 1944: "Paris libérée".
  13. ^
  14. ^


  • André Castelot, Charles X, La fin d'un monde, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris, 1988.
  • Svend Eriksen, 1974. Early Neo-Classicism in France, Faber & Faber, London, 1974.
  • G. Lenotre, Le Château de Rambouillet, six siècles d'histoire, Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1930; new publication, Denoël, Paris, 1984.
  • Françoise Winieska, Août 1944, la Libération de Rambouillet, France, Société Historique et Archéologique de Rambouillet et de l'Yveline (SHARY), Rambouillet, 1999, ISBN 2-9514047-0-0, English version by author under the title August 1944, the Liberation of Rambouillet, France, published by SHARY under same cover, ISBN 2-9514047-0-0.

External links

Coordinates: 48°38′44″N 1°49′04″E / 48.64556°N 1.81778°E

1st G6 summit

The 1st G6 summit took place on 15–17 November 1975, in Rambouillet, France. The venue for the summit meetings was the Château de Rambouillet near Paris.The Group of Six (G6) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. This summit, and the others which would follow, were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a kind of frustrated rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was an element in the genesis of cooperation between France's President and West Germany's Chancellor as they conceived the first summit of the G6.Later summits in what could become a continuing series of annual meetings were identified as the Group of Seven (G7) summits and then the Group of Eight (G8) summits—but this informal gathering was the one which set that process in motion.

Alexis Paccard

Alexis Paccard (12 June 1813 – 18 August 1867) was a French architect.

Paccard entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1830 in the workshops of Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and Jean-Nicolas Huyot. He won the Second Grand Prix in 1835 for a medical school, and won the Prix de Rome in 1841 for a "Palace of an ambassador in a foreign country."His work includes a study of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, which also earned him a medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1855.

On his return he became official inspector and architect of public buildings. He worked at the Louvre and the Tuileries under the direction of Louis Visconti. In 1854, he was an architect of the Château de Rambouillet, then Palace of Fontainebleau. In December 1863 he became professor of architecture at the Ecole, and among his students was Albert-Félix-Théophile Thomas.


The House of Bourbon-Penthièvre was an illegitimate branch of the House of Bourbon, thus descending from the Capetian dynasty. It was founded by the duc de Penthièvre (1725–1793), the only child and heir of the comte de Toulouse, the youngest illegitimate son of Louis XIV of France and the marquise de Montespan, and his wife, Marie Victoire de Noailles, the daughter of Anne Jules de Noailles, duc de Noailles.

Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet

Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet (1588 – 2 December 1665), known as Madame de Rambouillet, was a society hostess and a major figure in the literary history of 17th-century France.

Château de Saint-Hubert

The Château de Saint-Hubert was a royal château built by order of Louis XV in Perray-in-Yvelines (now in the department of Yvelines), for use while he was hunting in the nearby forest (Saint Hubert is the patron saint of hunters). The design was entrusted to Ange-Jacques Gabriel, designer of the École Militaire, and the building was under construction from 1755 to 1758.

Saint-Hubert was originally intended as a simple hunting lodge, to allow the King to rest during and after the hunt without calling on his cousin, the duc de Penthièvre. Work was not completed by 1756, and it was decided to turn Saint-Hubert into a full château, with a main building housing 25 nobles, plus two projecting service wings and a gatehouse creating a courtyard. The main room was elaborately decorated with painted stucco.

The building was still not completed by the death of Louis XV, and Louis XVI abandoned it as too expensive. Instead, he bought the Château de Rambouillet from the duc de Penthièvre. Saint-Hubert then fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1855. Little remains today.

Louis XV had planned a model village around the Château de Saint-Hubert, but it also was never completed.

A painting by Charles-André van Loo ordered in 1758 for the chapel at Saint-Hubert, The conversion of Saint-Hubert is now housed in the église Saint-Lubin-et-Saint-Jean in Rambouillet.

Galerie Vivienne

The Galerie Vivienne is one of the covered passages of Paris, France, located in the 2nd arrondissement. It is 176 metres (577 ft) long and 3 metres (9.8 ft) wide. The gallery has been registered as a historical monument since 7 July 1974.

Grand Synagogue of Paris

The Grand Synagogue of Paris, generally known as Synagogue de la Victoire or Grande Synagogue de la Victoire, is situated at 44, Rue de la Victoire, in the 9th arrondissement. It also serves as the official seat of the chief rabbi of Paris.

Jean-Joseph Foucou

Jean-Joseph Foucou (1739 – 16 February 1821) was a French sculptor.

Foucou was born at Riez, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. A student at the École de peinture et de sculpture of Marseille, he went to Paris, where he entered the workshop of Jean-Jacques Caffieri. In 1769 he won the Prix de Rome in sculpture, and entered the École royale des élèves protégés in preparation for his residence in Rome, 1771-75. On his return to Paris he was accepted (agrée) in 1777 at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, where he was made a full member in 1785, with a marble of a River for his morceau de reception. He was a regular contributor to the Paris Salons from 1779 to 1812.

Foucou was one of the main artists whose work was included in the collection of the Comédie-Française at the end of the 18th century. Others were Jean-Baptiste d'Huez, Simon-Louis Boizot, Augustin Pajou and Pierre-François Berruer.

He collaborated with Pierre Julien in the marble sculpture for the dairy for Marie Antoinette at Château de Rambouillet, and worked among other sculptors on grand Parisian projects, such as the Panthéon.

He was one of the numerous sculptors called upon to provide bronze bas-relief panels for the Place Vendôme Column celebrating Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz.

Foucou worked in collaboration with sculptors Joseph Espercieux, Pierre Petitot and Pierre Cartellier. He died in Paris.

Joseph Fleuriau d'Armenonville

Joseph Jean Baptiste Fleuriau d'Armenonville (22 January 1661 – 27 November 1728) was a French politician.

Fleuriau d'Armenonville was born in Paris and obtained a place in government service in 1683 through his brother-in-law, Claude Le Peletier de Morfontaine, then Controller-General of Finances. He served in the financial administration until 1689 when he purchased a post as councillor serving with the Parlement at Metz. He returned to the finance in 1701 when he was named as director-general of finances, holding the sinecures of "bailli and captain" of Chartres. In 1705 he was appointed to the senior grade of Conseiller d'État.

In 1716, he was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a post which was then without any responsibilities as foreign affairs were in fact directed by the Cardinal Dubois. Fleuriau d'Armenonville arranged to have the post pass to his son, Charles Jean Baptiste Fleuriau de Morville (Charles, Count of Morville), who duly took over responsibility for foreign affairs from 16 August 1723, following the death of Cardinal Dubois.

Fleuriau d'Armenonville became Secretary of State for the Navy on 24 September 1718, taking over responsibility from the council led by Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse, who resigned from the regency, which had previously directed affairs under the polysynody. He remained in office until 1722 when his son Charles took up the post. On leaving the Navy ministry, he became keeper of the seals, holding that office until he resigned on 14 August 1727.

Fleuriau d'Armenonville purchased the Château de Rambouillet from the duc d'Uzès in 1699 for 140,000 livres. He spent half a million livres on works, but sold to the Count of Toulouse in 1706, receiving in return half a million livres and the post of master of the hunt in the Bois de Boulogne and surrounds, an office which brought with it the use of the Château de Madrid.

Fleuriau d'Armenonville's son Charles Jean Baptiste, Count of Morville, followed him in government service.

Louis Alexandre, Count of Toulouse

Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse (1681), duc de Penthièvre (1697), (1711), (6 June 1678 – 1 December 1737), a legitimated prince of the blood royal, was the son of Louis XIV and of his mistress Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan. At the age of five, he became grand admiral of France (Grand Admiral of France).

Louis Alexandre, Prince of Lamballe

Louis Alexandre de Bourbon (Louis Alexandre Joseph Stanislas; 6 September 1747 – 6 May 1768) was the son and heir of Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, grandson of Louis XIV by the king's legitimised son, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon. He was known as the Prince of Lamballe from birth. He pre-deceased his father, and died childless.

Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre

Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon (16 November 1725 – 4 March 1793) was the son of Louis Alexandre de Bourbon and his wife Marie Victoire de Noailles. He was also a grandson of Louis XIV of France and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. From birth he was known as the Duke of Penthièvre. He also possessed the following titles: Prince of Lamballe (given later as a courtesy title to the duke's only surviving son); Prince of Carignano; Duke of Rambouillet; Duke of Aumale (1775); Duke of Gisors; Duke of Châteauvillain; Duke of Arc-en-Barrois; Duke of Amboise; Count of Eu; Count of Guingamp. He was the father in law of Philippe Égalité.

Maria Teresa Felicitas d'Este

Maria Teresa Felicitas d'Este (October 6, 1726 – April 30, 1754) was born a princess of Modena and was by marriage the Duchess of Penthièvre. She was the mother-in-law of Philippe Égalité and thus grandmother to the future Louis-Philippe of France.

Marie Victoire de Noailles

Marie Victoire Sophie de Noailles, Countess of Toulouse (Versailles, 6 May 1688 – Paris, 30 September 1766), was a French noble and courtier. She was the daughter of Anne Jules de Noailles, the 2nd Duke of Noailles, and Marie-Françoise de Bournonville. Her second spouse was Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, Count of Toulouse, the youngest legitimized son of King Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan.

Passage Brady

Passage Brady is one of two iron-and-glass covered arcades (known in French as the Passages couverts de Paris) located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, France constructed in 1828. It lies between Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin.

It is famous for the several Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants located in the arcade.

Pierre Julien

Pierre Julien (20 June 1731 – 17 December 1804) was a French sculptor who worked in a full range of rococo and neoclassical styles.

He served an early apprenticeship at Le Puy-en-Velay, near his natal village of Saint-Paulien, then at the École de dessin of Lyon, then entered the Parisian atelier of Guillaume Coustou the Younger. In 1765 he won a Prix de Rome for sculpture with a bas-relief panel of a subject from Antiquity and entered the École royale des élèves protégés, which offered a special course of study under the direction of the painter Louis-Michel van Loo. He was a pensionnaire at the French Academy in Rome, 1768 to 1773, where he was influenced by the tide of neoclassicism that affected his fellow students. As pensionnaires were expected to do, he sent back to France a marble copy from the Antique, slightly reduced in scale, of the so-called Cleopatra, the Vatican's Sleeping Ariadne, which remains at Versailles.

On his return to France and his former master, he worked on the sculpture for the mausoleum of Louis, le Grand Dauphin in the cathedral of Sens. After a failed try in 1776, with his Ganymede, he was received by the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in 1778, with a Dying Gladiator for his morceau de réception He was named one of the original members of the Institut de France, 1795, and a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, 1804.

He received commissions from the comte d'Angiviller, director of the Bâtiments du Roi, on behalf of Louis XVI for figures in a suite of life-size portraits of the great men of France: he realized a Jean de La Fontaine and a Nicolas Poussin, whom he elected to represent in his nightclothes, approximating the draperies of a Roman toga. While fulfilling commissions in Paris, for the Church of Sainte-Geneviève (now the Panthéon, Paris), or at the Pavillon de Flore of the Louvre, he sculpted in 1785 a virtuoso marble ensemble of the nymph Amalthea and the goat that nurtured Jupiter for the Queen's fastidiously-appointed Dairy (La Laiterie) at the Château de Rambouillet; for his model, he adapted the pose of the famous Capitoline Venus. Bas-reliefs from the Laiterie, reckoned among his masterpieces, were sold at auction in 1819, but were retrieved by the State in 2005, thanks to a gift from the son of the great dealer-collector Daniel Wildenstein.


Rambouillet (IPA: [ʁɑ̃bujɛ]) is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located on the outskirts of Paris, 44.3 km (27.5 mi) southwest from the centre. Rambouillet is a sub-prefecture of the department.

Rambouillet lies on the edge of the vast Forest of Rambouillet (Forêt de Rambouillet or Forêt de l'Yveline), and is famous for its historical castle, the Château de Rambouillet, which hosted several international summits. Due to its proximity to Paris and Versailles, Rambouillet has long been an occasional seat of government.

Rambouillet Agreement

The Rambouillet Agreement was a proposed peace agreement between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a delegation representing the Albanian majority population of Kosovo. It was drafted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and named for the Château de Rambouillet, where it was initially proposed in early 1999. The significance of the agreement lies in the fact that Yugoslavia refused to accept it, which NATO used as justification to start its intervention in the Kosovo War. Belgrade's rejection was based on the argument that the agreement contained provisions for Kosovo's autonomy that went further than the Serbian/Yugoslav government saw as reasonable.


Solidays is a French annual music festival that takes place at the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris at the end of June. Organised by Solidarité sida (a French HIV/AIDS awareness group for youth), the event brings together more than 150 artists and 170 000 festival-goers for three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The proceeds from the festival are donated to organisations fighting against AIDS, especially for those focusing on the African continent.

The festival has been held since 1999. The performers involved in Solidays accept a reduced fee or appear for free as a sign of their solidarity. The 2013 edition raised over 2 million euros. The festival also features bungee jumping in addition to the music.Over the years, many French and foreign artists have appeared at Solidays, including DJ Snake, Bigflo & Oli, Kungs, Mac Miller, Vanessa Paradis, M83, Synapson, Paul Kalkbrenner, Bénabar, Madeon, Shaka Ponk, David Guetta, Kool & the Gang, Stromae, Louis Bertignac, Lily Allen, Louise Attaque, Grand Corps Malade, Earth, Wind & Fire and Diplo.

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