The château of Maisons-Laffitte, West of Paris, is a fine example of French classicism completed in 1651. At that time, neither the chateaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte nor Versailles existed and Maisons was an architectural point of reference in the kingdom of France. Charles Perrault, the French author of famous fairytales (Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella) rightly put it: “there isn’t a single foreigner who hasn’t been to see it“.
Many visitors came to wonder at it, including Louis XIV, the Sun King, who would eventually build the immense palace of Versailles. This morning we finally visited the château after walking past it so many times. We had a really nice visit without throngs of tourists that you get in many other places and a leisurely hour was spent admiring paintings and the beautiful rooms.
The entrance to the château of Maisons-Laffitte is located in the low terrace outbuilding to the left. The friendly staff welcomed us and pointed us to the Stamping Room, the starting point of our visit.
The ground floor
René de Longueil’s Antechamber:
The Captives’ Room:
The Vestibule, main entrance to the Château:
The Stucco Room and its English-style décor:
The Boudoir of the Count of Artois:
The Fame Apartment (Appartement de la Renommée):
The Artois Apartment and a little horse statue on top of the mantelpiece.
The stairway leading to the basement:
The Bathing Chamber:
A Belle Époque painting in the basement:
The Chateau’s Kitchen:
The Upper Floor
The majestic Grand Stairway which style was new in Paris when constructed in the 1640s:
At the top of the stairway, we turn left to reach the exquisite King’s Apartment where can be visited the Ballroom, the Hercules Lounge, the King’s Bedchamber and the Mirror Room.
The Ballroom, possibly one of our favourite rooms in the château:
The Hercules Lounge and the monumental fireplace above which hung a copy painting of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701):
The King’s Bedchamber, where Louis XIV would stay during his hunting expeditions in the nearby forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye:
The Mirror Room. The dome of this refined private room was painted by Michel Corneille:
To the right of the staircase, a hallway leads to more rooms open to the public.
The Ladies’ Apartment:
The Bedchamber of Field-Marshal Lannes:
The access to the château of Maisons-Laffitte is managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) which website has all the information you need for your visit.