As one of the most visited cities on Earth today and having been at the heart of power for centuries, Paris in France features some of the largest and most famous Palaces and Chateau’s in the world. Thus, whether you’re planning to visit Paris or are a student of design, architecture or history, these five palaces and chateau’s should without doubt be on your list to take note of.
Palais de Chaillot
Located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, for the 1937 International Exhibition, the old Palais du Trocadéro was demolished and replaced by the white stone Palais de Chaillot which now tops the Chaillot hill. Designed by architects Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Léon Azema, it is in the classic stipped moderne style and similar to the Trocadéro, de Chaillot also features two wings shaped to form a wide arc, however, to take advantage of the outstanding view to the Eiffel Tower and River Seine, rather than being connected each wing is in fact independent of one another and joined by an Esplanade. In more recent times, Palais de Chaillot became the first headquarters of the United Nations in 1946 and remained so until 1951.
Formerly known as Château de Maisons, Château de Maisons-Laffitte is located in Yvelines, Île-de-France. It was built for René de Longueil, who went on to be Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finances, and designed around 1630 by the renowned architect François Mansart – who as the King’s architect was at the height of his career – it is a classis example of French Baroque architecture. Of the outstanding design, standouts include large open staircase, sculpted décor notably the Comte d’Artois’ dining room, the King’s apartment and his famous Cabinet des Miroirs. The Château overlooks a magnificent bend on the River Seine and, standing on the edge of Saint-Germain forest it was used as the King’s residence after he had been hunting
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is located in Maincy, 55 km South-East of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France. It was built from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle-Isle (Belle-Ile-en-Mer), Viscount of Melun and Vaux, who went on to become the Superintendent of Finances of Louis XIV, and designed by the legendary team of architect Louis Le Vau, landscaper Andre Le Nôtre and painter and decorator Le Brun. Such a harmonious and stunning design, it not only raised the ire of Louis XIV himself, but was an inspiration throughout Europe.
Château de Versailles
The Château de Versailles, also known in English as the Palace of Versailles, or simply referred to as Versailles, is located in what was the tiny village of Versailles, but is now a city in itself. Designed and built in four distinct stages by renowned men of their age, including Louis Le Vau, Le Nôtre, Le Brun and Jules Hardouin-Mansart for the sun king, Louis XIV, the Chateau became the centre of both French and World power during the French Ancien Regime, is one of the largest palaces in the world and is arguably one of the most famous buildings. It is infamous for being where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, ending the First World War.
Chateau de Villette
Located 35 mintues North-West of Paris in Condecourt, Val-d’Oise, Chateau de Villette is set on 185 acres. It was initially designed for Jean Dyel, the Comte d’Aufflay, Louis XIV’s ambassador to Venice by architect Francois Mansart around 1668 but finished in approximately 1696 by the renowned team that included his nephew, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and landscaper Le Nôtre. A significant and classic example of French-Baroque design, notable features of the Chateau include the great octagonal salon in blue and white, an elegant dining room with carved stone buffet, magnificent boiseries and the stone entry hall. Completed at the same time as Hardouin-Mansart, and Le Nôtre were undertaking Versailles, the Chateau is thus known as “Le Petit Versailles” and has most recently been seen in the movie of Dan Brown’s best selling novel, “The Da Vinci Code”.