The Palace of Saint-Cloud

The Palace of Saint-Cloud, also known as the Château de Saint-Cloud, was a French royal residence overlooking the Seine River approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) west of Paris. It was an important site of Napoleonic history, used by both Napoleon I and his nephew, Napoleon III. The Palace of Saint-Cloud was also the summer residence of the 19th-century Bourbon kings and their successor, King Louis-Philippe. In Napoleon in America, Louis XVIII lurches across the palace’s terrace in his wheelchair while his great-niece, Louise d’Artois, twirls on the grass.

Château de Saint-Cloud, 1675

The Château de Saint-Cloud, by Étienne Allegrain, 1675

History of the Château de Saint-Cloud

The Palace of Saint-Cloud (pronounced “san-cloo” in French) began as the Hôtel d’Aulnay, a country house in the village of Saint-Cloud. In the 1570s, Catherine de’ Medici (the widow of Henry II of France) purchased the property and gave it to one of her courtiers, Jérôme de Gondi, a member of a prominent banking family. He transformed the house into a larger château and adorned its gardens with fountains and grottos. While lodging at the château in 1589, Henry III was assassinated by a Dominican friar.

In 1658, Louis XIV bought the Château of Saint-Cloud for his younger brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. Philippe rebuilt, expanded and decorated the palace.

Saint-Cloud remained in the hands of the Orléans family until 1785, when Louis XVI purchased it for his wife, Marie Antoinette. She thought that the air outside of Paris would be healthier for their children. Marie Antoinette refurbished the palace, but did not have much time to enjoy it. The French Revolution broke out in 1789 and the royal family was placed under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace. In 1793, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed by guillotine. The Palace of Saint-Cloud became the property of the French nation. It was emptied of its art and furniture, but the building and extensive park were preserved “for the pleasure of the people.” (1)

The Palace of Saint-Cloud and Napoleon

Napoleon in the coup d’état at Saint-Cloud

Napoleon Bonaparte in the orangery at Saint-Cloud during the coup of 18 Brumaire, by François Bouchot, 1840

On November 9, 1799, Saint-Cloud was the setting for the coup d’état that brought Napoleon to power. Napoleon’s brother Lucien Bonaparte falsely convinced France’s legislative bodies that they were at risk of a Jacobin conspiracy, and that it would be safer to meet at the Château de Saint-Cloud instead of in Paris. Once they were there, Napoleon stormed into their meetings, supported by a force of grenadiers. Napoleon subsequently became the First Consul of France.

Napoleon had the château repaired so that he could use it as one of his residences. He first occupied Saint-Cloud in the spring of 1802. Napoleon liked Saint-Cloud because he was more at liberty there and surrounded by fewer people than at the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Saint-Cloud was in the shape of a U that opened to the east, toward the Seine. The north wing was dominated by a large room called the Galerie d’Apollon (Apollo Gallery). The central part of the building included salons and state rooms. The south wing consisted of apartments. In the back, an orangery extended to the west on the north end.

Napoleon’s private secretary, Claude François de Méneval, wrote:

This palace, although not vast, afforded a beautiful and comfortable abode, well suited to Napoleon’s habits and requirements, and provided with magnificent gardens. His workroom was very large, and its walls were literally covered with books, from the floor to the ceiling. He had himself designed his writing-table, which was in the shape of a bass. Numerous papers were spread out on its wings. His usual place was on a settee covered with green taffeta, which stood near the mantelpiece, on which were two fine bronze busts of Scipio and of Hannibal. … His study was reached through a bedroom, which he did not occupy. His apartment was on the floor above, and communicated with this room by means of a private staircase. It consisted of three plainly furnished rooms. The only ornament of the bedroom on the ground floor, which looked out on the garden, was an antique bust of Caesar, which stood on the mantelpiece. Beyond the First Consul’s workroom was a small drawing-room, where he used to receive the Minister of Foreign Affairs. …

The First Consul used to lunch in the large drawing-room, which led in to his apartment…. This drawing-room was afterwards ornamented with portraits of the Bonaparte family. When Napoleon became Emperor he used to receive all the members of his family who happened to be in Paris at dinner every Sunday, and spent the evening with them in this drawing-room. A large balcony, on to which this drawing-room opened, communicated between the private apartment of Napoleon and that of Josephine, afterwards occupied by Marie Louise. (2)

Napoleon receiving the decree that proclaimed him Emperor of the French, by Georges Rouget

Napoleon at Saint-Cloud receiving the decree that proclaimed him Emperor of the French, by Georges Rouget

It was at Saint-Cloud that Napoleon received the decree from the French Senate that proclaimed him Emperor of the French on May 18, 1804. He turned the Salon de Vénus into his throne room. On April 1, 1810, one of the three ceremonies in which Napoleon married his second wife, Marie Louise, took place in the Apollo Gallery at Saint-Cloud.

Although Napoleon clearly enjoyed spending time at the Palace of Saint-Cloud, his staff found it less pleasing. One of his valets, Louis Étienne Saint-Denis, complained:

I was condemned to remain all day in a bedroom which was between the salon and the study (on the ground floor), and it was only toward ten or eleven o’clock in the evening that I could go away – that is to say, when the Emperor and Empress came out of the salon to go to bed. (3)

Captain Jean-Roch Coignet, a grenadier of Napoleon’s guard, also expressed reservations about working at the palace.

Duty at St. Cloud was irksome to us. We had to go back and forth from Courbevoie to St. Cloud, and the chasseurs came from Rueil [Malmaison] to relieve us. We were well fed, however, and the sergeant had a table to himself. We had soup, bouillon, good chicken-salad, and a bottle of wine. The officer ate with the officers of the household. (4)

Napoleon in the park of Saint-Cloud

Napoleon and his son at Saint-Cloud in 1811

Napoleon with his son, the King of Rome, at Saint-Cloud in 1811, by François Flameng

Méneval described an accident Napoleon had at Saint-Cloud.

In the beginning of 1803, the First Consul, being then at St. Cloud, wanted to drive a carriage with four young horses. Madame Bonaparte [Josephine] and her daughter Hortense were in the carriage. Napoleon mounted the box, in front of the St. Cloud parterre. On arriving at the railings which separate this parterre from the private park, he lost control over the horses, which were young and fiery. They dashed up against the railings with such violence that Napoleon was thrown from his seat and hurled ten paces away, on to the gravel. … Napoleon came off with a sprain and few scratches, and was obliged to carry his right arm in a sling, which prevented him from signing any papers for a few days afterwards. (5)

Napoleon kept gazelles in the park of Saint-Cloud. He had brought them from Egypt and liked to feed them by hand. Sometimes he would offer them snuff, which they quite enjoyed. Coignet recounted an incident involving Marie Louise and a gazelle.

Every evening the Emperor liked to walk on the high terrace with his Empress. Once I chanced to be there; when I saw them appear, I would have withdrawn, but at a sign from the Emperor I moved a little away to one side to let them pass. A moment later the gazelles came running up to their Majesties. These animals are very fond of snuff, and the Emperor always had a little box of it ready for them. Not being prompt enough in giving a pinch to the first gazelle, the animal put its head under the imperial lady’s dress, and gave me a sight of some extremely white linen. The Emperor was furious, and I retired in confusion, but this recollection still pleases me. The charming beasts were forgiven, but after that day he gave them their snuff alone. (6)

According to Méneval, Marie Louise learned how to ride a horse at the Palace of Saint-Cloud.

Napoleon used to walk by her side, holding her hand, whilst the equerry held the horse’s bridle. He calmed her fears, and encouraged her. She took advantage of her lessons, grew courageous, and ended by being able to keep her seat very well. When, to her master’s credit, she had become a horsewoman, the lessons were sometimes continued in the avenue of the private park which led out from the family drawing-room…. Napoleon, when he had a few minutes to spare, after lunch, would send for his horse, get on horseback, dressed in silk stockings and buckled shoes, and would ride by the Empress’s side. He would excite her horse, and set off at a gallop, laughing heartily when she cried out for fear of falling. It is true that this danger did not exist, for grooms were standing all along the avenue ready to stop the horse, and to prevent a fall. (7)

After Napoleon’s defeat

In 1814, Allied armies occupied France and Napoleon was compelled to abdicate. He went into exile on Elba. British politician Edward Herbert visited Saint-Cloud shortly thereafter.

As far as a splendid residence could give happiness and comfort, this place certainly should have done so. We walked through the park to the artificial cascades, waterfall fountains, &c., which at a grand fête are set in motion. … [T]here are lions, sphinxes, frogs, &c., &c., all for the purpose of emitting streams of water; it must have a most wonderful effect when the whole is set in motion. …

One wing [of the palace] is occupied by the chapel and Salon de la Messe, as it is called; the other by the emperor and empress’s bedrooms and private rooms; the centre by the Salon des Ambassadeurs, Salon des Princes, and the salon where he held his councils with his ministers. These apartments with a dining room and a room of assembly, comprise the whole of what we should call a second floor, except a private bedroom of his own, a small back room, a waiting room, and a billiard room; from the billiard room you enter a very fine orangerie, and from thence there is a pretty kind of theatre, in which plays were acted every Thursday. The house being upon the side of a hill, the second floor, as you look towards Paris, comes with the ground as you look from Paris. The lower apartments are used as offices. …

Anything equal to the magnificence with which every part of the house is fitted up I never have before seen, and had no idea such labour would have been bestowed by Bonaparte upon such comparatively insignificant things. In the salon adjoining the chapel there are casts of many of the best statues in the Gallery of the Louvre. I had a great desire to examine some of his books, but the man who showed it to us was a sulky fellow, probably angry at the prospect of losing his situation, and would not let us examine them; I, however, saw several editions of the Life of Oliver Cromwell, and many works upon the different invasions of England. (8)

In early 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to Paris for a brief period on the throne before he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and had to abdicate one final time. On July 3, 1815, a military convention was signed at the Palace of Saint-Cloud, surrendering Paris to armies led by Prussian commander Gebhard von Blücher and the Duke of Wellington. On July 19, Wellington’s friend and First Secretary to the Admiralty, John Wilson Croker, stopped by Saint-Cloud.

The great hall was a common guard-house in which the Prussians were drinking, spitting, smoking, and sleeping in all directions. No mischief had been done except to one old china jar which had been broken by accident in the billiard-room. The gallery was perfectly intact. Blucher occupied Buonaparte’s own apartment, and we did not see it, as we had no mind to disturb the old man; but I hear that a good many, even English officers and others, have helped themselves to books out of the library as marks of triumph. (9)

Saint-Cloud under the restored Bourbons

he Apollo Gallery, Palace of Saint-Cloud

The Apollo Gallery, Palace of Saint-Cloud

Louis XVI’s brother, Louis XVIII, became the king of France. Upon his death in 1824, he was succeeded by his brother, Charles X, who embellished both the interior and exterior of Saint-Cloud. In 1829, Caroline Cushing visited France with her husband Caleb, a member of the Massachusetts Senate. She left a detailed description of their tour of the Palace of Saint-Cloud.

On applying at the porter’s lodge, we procured a guide to conduct us through the Chateau. He led the way into a vestibule, from whence two handsome stair-cases, opposite each other, lead to the royal apartment. These stair-cases are very different in their construction, the railing of one being iron, that of the other marble. The first room that we entered was a sort of antechamber, hung around with full length portraits of … the most distinguished royalist leaders in the war of La Vendée. From this you pass into a second room, in which are portraits of George Cadoudal and other conspirators against the life of Napoleon. Several other apartments, hung with silks of different colors, with furniture to match, lead to a spacious room, which is adorned with very fine portraits of Henry Fourth, Louis Fourteenth, Louis Fifteenth and wife, Louis Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette, together with those of the father and mother of Charles Tenth.

This completes the suite of rooms appropriated to the King’s use. Then follow those of the Dauphin. The ante-room contains several paintings representing hunting scenes, and also a stature of Henry Fourth in his youth. The cabinet is a neat, small apartment, and in it is a most beautiful little table with a circular top, composed of mother of pearl….

The reception room comes next, and this apartment, said to have been Napoleon’s cabinet, is one of the most splendid which the palace contains. The hangings are of delicate yellow silk, ornamented with gilding, and the sofa and chairs are of the same; and in the panels, which divide the doors and windows, are beautiful little painted figures. Three handsome tables occupy the upper end of the room, and upon one of these are two small equestrian statures, of Frances First and Henry Fourth, and the busts of the Duke of Bordeaux and his sister. Upon the second table are statues of Saint Louis and Louis Fourteenth; and upon the third those of Louis Twelfth and Thirteenth, all equestrian. … The bed chamber which adjoins this room is not remarkable for its beauty. The bed hangings are of crimson and yellow damask.

The Dauphine’s suit of apartments follow those of the Dauphin, and are, I think, the least sumptuous of any that I saw. Next to the bathing-room, which is hung with muslin lined with blue, and ornamented with mirrors, is the Cabinet de Travail. This is a neat apartment, the hangings being composed of white silk, with colored flowers; and the sofa, made to compare, has for arms two beautiful gilt swans, with a little ball suspended at the beak of each.

The next room contains, among other pictures, a very interesting one of Marie Antoinette surrounded by her children. … From this room, you enter the bed chamber, that contains nothing remarkable, and which finishes the suite.

The succession of apartments that we were next shown through was truly splendid. The first, called Salon de Reception, is hung with rich crimson velvet, and furniture of the same trimmings. Candelabras of bronze, ornamented with gilding, are placed round the room, together with a variety of handsome vases, among which is one of great beauty, and much celebrated, made at the Sevres Manufactory. From the beautifully painted ceiling are suspended two remarkably large and elegant glass lustres. The next apartment, the Salon de Jeu, has likewise a painted ceiling, and the hangings and furnishings are of blue silk. Those of the Salon de Louis Seize are of a superb red silk ground, with raised velvet figures upon it. The Salon de Mars is remarkable for the beauty of its painted ceiling, but it contains no other object of interest, although a large picture, representing the Dauphin in Spain, shows conspicuously upon one side of the room.

The Galerie d’Apollon is strikingly beautiful. The ceiling is richly painted and gilded, and a large number of pictures, several of them very fine, adorn the walls. A range of windows opens upon the Park, each being hung with white silk curtains. Opposite each window is a mirror, to compare with it in size, and also hung with curtains to match. Various little ornaments, such as vases, small statues, and busts, farther ornament the room; and at one end of it is a handsome bronze model of the statue of Henry Fourth upon the Pont Neuf.

Adjoining the gallery is another apartment, in which are several beautiful pictures. One of them represents the Maison Carree at Nismes, a second the ruins at Orange and Saint Remy, and a third, a well executed portrait of Louis Eighteenth in his youth. As we reached this apartment intelligence was brought to our guide that the Dauphine had arrived from Paris: a hint, of course, to us, that we must retire, which we did without delay, and directed our steps towards the Park.

The Park of Saint Cloud is, in many respects, much inferior to that of Versailles. It presents, however, a more natural appearance, and is very extensive and beautiful. It possesses one very celebrated fountain, said to be finer than any at Versailles. This I could imagine from its situation and form, and also from the innumerable spouts, which I could discover in every part of it. But only when the waters are playing can this, or indeed any other fountain, be seen in perfection. Having sauntered around for some time amid the fine groves of majestic horse chestnut trees, all in full blossom, with which the Park abounds, and amused ourselves by watching the graceful motions of several stately swans, which were swimming in the large basin of water constructed for their use, we ascended the hill, to which a broad noble avenue leads from the Chateau. On the summit of this hill stands a monument, erected by Napoleon, … known by the name of the Lantern of Napoleon. It is a kind of needle or obelisk, and is a very conspicuous object, from many points in the neighborhood…. The view from this Lantern is remarkably extensive and delightful. A number of pretty villages, together with widespread meadows and a fertile country, meet the eye, while the lofty domes and towers of Paris may be seen rising in the distance. (10)

Dinner at Saint-Cloud with Louis-Philippe

Marriage of the Duke of Nemours to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at Saint-Cloud, by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux, 1840

Marriage of the Duke of Nemours to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at Saint-Cloud, by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux, 1840

In 1830, Charles X was overthrown in a revolution. Saint-Cloud once again became a residence of the Orléans family when King Louis-Philippe ascended the throne. He had the apartments renovated and richly furnished. A member of the American legation to France described a dinner at the Palace of Saint-Cloud in 1840.

From the vestibule [we] mounted a noble flight of marble stairs, which terminates at a landing, where the upper servants are stationed, and where a register is kept of all the visitors who enter. From here [we] passed into a large square apartment, decorated with some superb pictures, and then into a billiard hall, which is hung around with rich Gobelins tapestry, wrought with various scenes in the life of Henry the Fourth, and copied from the pictures of Rubens. … Passing through this room as slowly as propriety allowed, but too rapidly to give us more than a glance at its treasures, we entered the Salon of Reception.

Here we found several ladies and officers of the court assembled; and after the usual interchange of compliments, we looked around this beautiful apartment. The furniture was in excellent taste; at the same time rich and comfortable, but not gorgeous in its material, nor overloaded with ornament. …

This room is called the ‘Salon of Mercury’ because the ceiling is painted with the attributes and deeds of the light-fingered god. Various allegories, drawn from the heathen mythology, are represented, and among them the Delivery of the Apple and the Judgement of Paris. The walls are hung with Gobelins tapestry. …

In a few minutes the Queen, with her youngest daughter, the Princess Clémentine, entered the room, and after saluting the company, and conversing with the American guests, took her seat in a kind of alcove, opening into a gallery, which surmounts the court, and commands a full view of the magnificent environs. The Minister [Lewis Cass, American Ambassador to France] soon arrived, and then different members of the Royal Family, who were followed by the King. … Bowing to the company as he entered, in such a manner as to seem to neglect no one, [Louis-Philippe] advanced to the Minister, and with much kindness of manner asked him several questions. …

Very soon the double doors were thrown open, by a principal servant, and the Aide-de-camp de Service, approaching the Queen, intimated, by a slight inclination, that the dinner was served. The Queen, walking up to the Minister, took his arm, and led the way to the dining-hall. The King followed, leading his beautiful daughter-in-law, the Duchesse de Nemours, and then the Duc de Nemours, with his sister the Princess Clémentine. The Duc d’Aumale, the youngest son of the King, gave his arm to one of the ladies of the court, and the two American guests then succeeded, each honored in a similar manner. After us came the military officers, and the other persons invited to the table. We passed through a kind of vestibule, where a band of military music, belonging to the troops on duty at the chateau, was arranged, but concealed from view, and which played while we proceeded and took our seats, and during a considerable portion of the repast. Entering the dining-room, we found ourselves in a long apartment, modestly decorated and furnished, and having in its centre a table with thirty covers. … It may well be supposed that the dinner service of the King of France, and the richest individual, perhaps, in the world, is befitting his station and country; and I must leave the reader to draw upon his imagination for a just conception of it….

The King placed himself in the centre of one side of the table, having a vacant chair on his left, and the Duchesse de Nemours on his right. The Queen was on the opposite side, having the American Minister on her right, and the Duc de Nemours on her left. The Princess Clémentine was on the right of the Minister, and the Duc d’Aumale on the left of the vacant chair. The other guests seated themselves as they entered, without confusion, and apparently without any previous arrangement. Before we had finished the soup, Madame Adelaide, the King’s sister, entered very quietly, and without disturbing anyone, took the chair by the side of the King, which had been reserved for her. As she remarked, ladies cannot prepare their toilettes as speedily as gentlemen; and having accompanied her brother from Paris, she had not had time to complete her arrangements when the dinner was announced. …

The dinner at St. Cloud passed as dinners usually pass, in some conversation, but still more in the laudable operations of eating and drinking. …

The order and silence with which the domestic service of the dinner was conducted were honorable to the interior organization of the royal household. There was no hurry nor confusion on the one hand, nor indifference nor carelessness on the other; but the servants were alert and attentive; and there was at least one domestic for each person at the table. Like the customary arrangements at the French dinners, there were three removes, and the dishes were changed and renewed with promptitude and regularity, being brought in by a long file of servants, each of whom delivered his charge to a superior attendant, by whom it was placed upon the table. The whole ceremony did not exceed one hour, when we returned to the Salon of Reception in the order we had left it. In French society, the practice, which prevails in England, and which we have borrowed from that country, of sitting at table after the ladies have retired, and guzzling wine…is unknown. … I have never been at a dinner in Continental Europe, where the ladies and gentlemen did not retire from the table together. …

When we reached the family parlor, as it may be called, we found the Duke and Duchess of Orleans there. They have a separate establishment at the chateau, and had dined en famille, but had come to join the circle of the court, and to pass the evening with it. …

The Queen took her seat at one of the round tables, with her sister, her two daughter-in-laws, and her daughter, and some other ladies; while the rest placed themselves at a similar table in another part of the room. …

The King invited the Minister to accompany him to another wing of the chateau. They passed through the two rooms I have already described on arriving, and then entered a long apartment called the Gallery of Apollo. The ceiling is splendidly painted, and the walls ornamented with medallions, and hung with upward of ninety pictures; and there are superb vases, and other works of art, distributed through the apartment. This is a favorite promenade of the King, who frequently walks here after diner, seeking exercise, which is necessary to his health, and which his duties and the attacks to which his life is exposed do not permit him to take in the open air. …

In about half an hour, the King returned from his promenade, and soon after the musicians, who are nominally attached to the royal household, and called the Musique du Roi, made their appearance. The band contains some of the most celebrated composers and performers of France, who have this honorary title, and who serve at the palace upon all state occasions, and whenever called there for the gratification of the royal family. …

Adjoining the salon in which we were assembled is the library, a beautiful room, finished and fitted up with great taste, and what is better, supplied with a valuable and extensive collection of books. The performers were introduced into this apartment, and the folding-doors being thrown open, they entertained the company with some of their happiest efforts. …

As the evening advanced, the persons who are entitled to what is called the right of entrée, or in other words, who are expected to present themselves occasionally in the evening at the royal residence, began to make their appearance. … Here the Diplomatic Corps, and various members of French society, are admitted without special invitation, and enjoy the facilities of communication with the royal family. …

After a short time we quitted the apartment, without any formal leave-taking; and thus pleasantly passed three hours at Saint Cloud. (11)

Saint-Cloud under Napoleon III

The Palace of Saint-Cloud, by Charles-François Daubigny, circa 1865

The Palace of Saint-Cloud, by Charles-François Daubigny, circa 1865

Louis-Philippe was forced to abdicate in the French Revolution of 1848.  Napoleon’s nephew, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, became the president of France. In 1852, he proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III. He and his wife, Empress Eugénie, spent their honeymoon at Saint-Cloud and used the palace as a summer residence. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed there when they visited Paris for the first Exposition Universelle in August 1855.

At a quarter of nine they reached the chateau of Saint-Cloud. The drums beat the general; the trumpets blew, shouts blended with salvos of artillery. The Empress, the Princess Mathilde, the officers and ladies on duty, were awaiting the august travellers at the foot of the grand staircase with columns of marble. The cortège entered the palace. They went up the steps on which stood the hundred guards like caryatides…. On reaching the grand apartments, the Emperor presented to Her Britannic Majesty the ministers, the grand officers, and the functionaries of his household. After dinner, served with marvelous luxury in the salon of Diana, they returned to the state apartments, where Their Majesties remained until eleven o’clock. … From the windows could be seen a magnificent spectacle. Saint-Cloud and Boulogne were illuminated, Paris appeared on the horizon like a giant stretched out in the light. (12)

The reception of Queen Victoria by Napoleon III at Saint-Cloud, 18 August 1855, by Charles Louis Müller

The reception of Queen Victoria by Napoleon III at Saint-Cloud, 18 August 1855, by Charles Louis Müller

In 1859, the world’s first documented model railway was built in the park of Saint-Cloud, for the amusement of Napoleon III’s then three-year-old son.

What happened to the Palace of Saint Cloud?

The Palace of Saint-Cloud in flames, 1870

The Palace of Saint-Cloud in flames, 1870

In July 1870, Napoleon III declared war on Prussia. The war did not go well for France, and by September German forces were besieging Paris. They occupied the Palace of Saint-Cloud and shelled the city from its grounds. The French fired back. On October 13, 1870, an explosive shell hit the palace and set it on fire. By the time the blaze fizzled out, all that was left was the palace walls. Fortunately, most of the palace’s contents had been removed prior to the Prussian occupation.

Salon de Mars after the fire

The palace interior after the fire

In 1891, the remains of the building were pulled down and the stones were auctioned off. The pediment of the palace’s north wing, along with some other material, was purchased by bought by Ferdinand I of Bulgaria and incorporated into the palace of Euxinograd, on the Black Sea coast.

Today all that remains of the Palace of Saint-Cloud are a few outbuildings and the large and beautiful gardens of the Parc de Saint-Cloud, which is open to visitors. Fun fact: the music video for Sinéad O’Connor’s 1990 hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was filmed there.

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  1. Francis Miltoun, Royal Palaces and Parks of France (Boston, 1910), p. 234.
  2. Claude-François de Méneval, Memoirs to Serve for the History of Napoleon I From 1802 to 1815, translated by Robert H. Sherard, Vol. I (London, 1895), pp. 176-179.
  3. Louis Étienne Saint-Denis, Napoleon from the Tuileries to St. Helena, translated by Frank Hunter Potter, (New York and London, 1922), pp. 13-14.
  4. Jean-Roch Coignet, The Note-Books of Captain Coignet, Soldier of the Empire, edited by Jean Fortescue, (New York, 1929), p. 197.
  5. Méneval, Memoirs to Serve for the History of Napoleon I, Vol. I, pp. 213-214.
  6. Coignet, The Note-Books of Captain Coignet, p. 196.
  7. Méneval, Memoirs to Serve for the History of Napoleon I, Vol. II, p. 406.
  8. Edward Herbert, Lord Clive’s Journal, 1814-1815 (London, 1858), pp. 15-17.
  9. John Wilson Croker, The Croker Papers, edited by Louis J. Jennings, Vol. I (London, 1885), p. 67.
  10. Caroline Cushing, Letters Descriptive of Public Monuments, Scenery, and Manners in France and Spain, Vol. I (Newburyport, 1832), pp. 317-322.
  11. Lewis Cass, France, its King, Court, and Government; and Three Hours at Saint Cloud (New York, 1841), pp. 189-201.
  12. Imbert de Saint-Amand, Napoleon III and His Court, translated by Elizabeth Gilbert Martin (New York, 1898), p. 326.

2 commments on “The Palace of Saint-Cloud”

  • François-Marie Patorni says:

    What a wonderful article! It brought back childhood memories of family conversations, as my gg grandfather and namesake was campaign manager of Napoleon III. François-Marie Patorni

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The great hall was a common guard-house in which the Prussians were drinking, spitting, smoking, and sleeping in all directions.

John Wilson Croker