Address: Avenue du Château de Malmaison, 92500 Rueil-Malmaison
Metro: Boulogne – Pont de Saint-Cloud or Metro or La Défense
Direction: Take RER A to Grande Arche (La Defénse). Afterwards, take bus 258 to Château de Malmaison.
Hours: View below.
Fees: Visiting Fees: Adults: 6,50 € (add 2 € during exhibitions).
Free for under 18 and 18-25 year-old residents of the EU.
Free the first Sunday of every month.
Phone: +33 1 41 29 05 55
Website: Musee national des chateaux de Malmaison et Bois-Preau
Located 12 km from Paris, Château de Malmaison, or “the evil house,” was first used as a hideout for Norman invaders in mid 1200s. From 1390 to 1763, Château de Malmaison belonged to the Goudet family. From 1737 to 1763, the mansion was rented to rich financiers. In 1771, a rich banker named Jacques-Jean le Couteulx du Molay bought Malmaison and after the Revolution in 1799, sold it to Josephine Bonaparte for 325000 FF. After returning from war, Napoleon approved of the mansion and for 2 years along with the Tuileries, it became the seat of the French Government. Josephine and Napoleon enjoyed a carefree living at Malmaison as they created a relaxed environment for their guests. Upon their ownership of the castle, Napoleon and Josephine commissioned 2 architects to modify the old Renaissance look to a more modern Neoclassical one.
After her divorce from Napoleon, Josephine stayed at Malmaison until her death in 1814.
Josephine had a special interest in forming the 60-hectare Parks of Malmaison. As a result, the park got fenced in and just to name a few, pavilions, menageries, hot houses, chalets and the Temple of Love were constructed. Josephine had a love for English Gardens, and exotic botanicals. Many of the plants including magnolias and camellias were first planted in Malmaison. She also loved roses and planted more than 250 varieties of them. She commissioned Redouté to illustrate some of the most beautiful plants of Malmaison for a book she planned to publish “The Garden of Malmaison.”
Josephine was also passionate about rare animals and dedicated a portion of the parks to them. For a period of time, she kept animals such as zebras, kangaroos and even black swans.
Unfortunately, after Josephine’s death, the state was not cared for and most of the plants did not survive.
Even though her son inherited Malmaison, his wife after his death, sold Malmaison to Jonas Hagerman, a Swedish banker in 1828.
In 1842, Queen Christine of Spain bought the mansion until 1861 when Napoleon III, Josephine’s grandson, bought it back. He tried to restore the mansion to what it looked like under Josephine’s ownership.
In 1877, Malmaison was sold again and the land got divided into parcels. Finally in 1896, Malmaison was purchased by Daniel Iffla who donated the mansion to the State in 1904.
Malmaison was turned into a museum in 1906. Today, you will findeverything related to Josephine and her children at Malmaison. It also covers Napoleon Bonaparte’s life from the time he was a general and a consul.
Malmaison Château is a must see for Napoleon / Josephine lovers. Don’t miss Napoleon’s secret staircase, and the famous rose garden planted by Josephine after her divorce.
How to get to Malmaison:
By train: take the RER train to “La Défense” on Line A then take bus 258 and get off at “Le Château”
By road: take the RN13 from ParisThe entrance fee for Malmaison is also included in the Museum Pass.
Chateau de Malmaison Hours:
Chateau de Malsmaison is open everyday but Tuesdays, December 25 and January 1.
From October 1 to March 31 Monday to Friday: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Weekends: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
From April 1 to September 30 Monday to Friday: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (last entry at noon) and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Weekends: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Last entry 45 minutes before closing times.