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Explore the EstateThe Grand Trianon

The Emperor’s Small Apartment



The space of the Emperor

This five-room apartment with French doors opening out onto the former king’s garden was created by combining part of Madame de Maintenon’s old apartment and the Small Apartment built for Louis XV in 1750. Napoleon occupied it for the first time in December 1809, just after his divorce from Josephine. Under Louis-Philippe it served as the living quarters for the king’s youngest daughters, Princesses Marie and Clémentine.

The Emperor’s Bedroom

The emperor’s bedroom, one of his small apartment’s five rooms, was created in 1750 as Louis XV’s bedchamber on the site of a staircase and part of the next room. The original decoration and panelling still exist but the room has been refurnished to appear as it did during the Empire. The beautiful “lemonwood” moiré silks with lilac and silver brocade borders, which were made in Lyon for Josephine in 1807 and re-used here by Napoleon in 1809, have been restored. The first time the emperor stayed in this small apartment was in December 1809, just after his divorce from Josephine. Her daughter, Queen Hortense, recorded how Napoleon received them on Christmas Day: he “went to Trianon and asked us to come pay him a visit. I accompanied my mother. The conversation was touching. The emperor wanted her to stay for dinner. As usual he took his place opposite her. Nothing seemed to have changed… They sat in deep silence. My mother was unable to partake of anything and seemed as though she were about to faint. The emperor wiped his eyes two or three times without uttering a word and we left immediately after dinner.”

The Antechamber

This is the former Levant Study, which served as Madame de Maintenon’s large drawing room. In 1812 its depth was reduced to house a staircase leading to the entresol: it then became the study of the emperor’s secretary. The walls are hung with damask the colour of “Egyptian earth” edged by a green and dark red border. The paintings are Juno and Flora by Bon de Boulogne; Zephyr and Flora, depicted twice, by Noël Coypel and Michel Corneille; and Apollo Receiving His Quiver and Arrows from Mercury by Noël Coypel.

The Emperor’s Topographical Study

At first this study opened out onto the Bosquet des Sources, a small grove crossed by streams winding through the trees. Le Nôtre’s last creation, it disappeared under Louis XVI. During his reign this room led to Madame de Maintenon’s apartment. The 1713 panelling features views of the gardens of Versailles, including a scene of the aged Louis XIV in a wheelchair. In 1810 Napoleon made this his map room and started using the adjacent suite as his small apartment.

The Private Study

This is the former Rest Study, which served as Madame de Maintenon’s bedchamber. The room was divided into several studies in the eighteenth century but the original dimensions were restored in 1813; it has looked the same ever since. The serre-papiers (paper cabinet) was delivered by Jacob-Desmalter and the clock by Bailly. Napoleon used the chairs as First Consul at the château of Saint-Cloud, and the pedestal table is from the Elysée Palace. The green damask wall coverings enriched with a gold brocade border form the backdrop for the following paintings: Apollo and the Sibyl and Apollo and Hyacinth by Louis de Boulogne; Apollo and Thetis by Jean Jouvenet; Apollo Crowned by Victory and Apollo At Rest by Noël Coypel.

The Breakfast Room

At first this space and half the previous room formed the Buffet Room, which communicated with the antechamber (the present Music Room) where Louis XIV supped; it was surmounted by the musicians’ gallery. The present dimensions date from the reign of Louis XV, who used it as his large study. The décor and furniture were made for Napoleon, who had it turned into his breakfast room.
The wall covering is a white and blue “economical damask” with an aurora border; the chairs by Jacob-Desmalter are upholstered with the same fabric. The temple clock is made of various marble, jasper and lapis lazuli elements, most of which date from the reign of Charles X. It is flanked by two Sèvres porcelain vases decorated with landscapes. The oriental alabaster cup was confiscated from an émigré; under the Empire it sat on one of the consoles in the gallery. The pedestal table, whose apron is decorated with a farandole of muses, was brought for Princess Marie.
The painting, Nymph Presenting a Horn of Plenty to Amalthea, by Noël Coypel, is from Trianon-sous-Bois.
The Breakfast Room communicates with the emperor’s family room, which was formerly Louis XV’s Game Room.

The Bathroom

The Small Apartment built for Louis XV in 1750 begins here. This room was his private study but Napoleon had it converted into a bathroom.
The walls and gondola chairs are covered with white dimity. A green-upholstered banquette conceals the bath.

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