article | Reading time5 min
article | Reading time5 min
Composed of flamboyant or self-effacing personalities, passionate collectors, music lovers and inspired builders, the Orléans dynasty has left its mark on the history of the Saint-Cloud estate. Browse through the portrait gallery of this princely family.
Second son of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, Philippe de France was born on September 21, 1640 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Louis XIV's younger brother was still Duke of Anjou when, at the age of eighteen, he took possession of financier Barthélémy Hervart's pleasure home in Saint-Cloud.
His arrival heralded the start of almost forty years of construction work, which totally transformed the park and château, making Saint-Cloud, in the words of Saint-Simon, "a house of delights".
From 1680 to 1698, he organized a thousand collations, suppers and médianoches (meals eaten in the middle of the night). The château also played host to twelve grand parties, sometimes lasting several days. The royal family and the entire court were accommodated and regaled.
After his death, on June 9, 1701 at the Château de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Simon wrote: "The bulk of the court lost in Monsieur: it was he who threw into it the amusements, the soul, the pleasures, and when he left it all seemed lifeless and without action".
He left the estate to his son, Philippe II d'Orléans, better known as the Regent.
He was born and spent much of his childhood in the Château de Saint-Cloud. On his father's death, he inherited the property, but preferred the Palais-Royal, leaving it to his mother, the Princess Palatine. He nevertheless organized sumptuous receptions to welcome prestigious foreign visitors, such as Tsar Peter I and the ambassador of the Ottoman Sultan.
In 1723, he also commissioned painter Charles-Antoine Coypel to decorate a salon in Saint-Cloud. The artist painted a sketch on canvas, which you can admire at the Musée Historique. It depicts the apotheosis of Hercules in the midst of the assembly of gods, destined for the ceiling. The death of the commissioner in the same year put an end to the project.
His son loved the Saint-Cloud residence, where he lived with his wife Auguste Marie Jeanne de Bade until her untimely death.
He had the Grande Cascade repaired, crowned by a new stone group, La Jonction de la Seine et de la Marne, by Lambert Sigisbert Adam, the king's sculptor.
Widowed, Louis d'Orléans retired to the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève, leaving the enjoyment of Saint-Cloud to his son and his young wife in 1742.
Louis-Philippe Joseph de Chartres had just married Henriette de Conti. From 1743 onwards, he commissioned the construction of an auditorium, bosquets, pavilions and follies for pleasure and festivities.
One of the most dazzling of these took place on September 24, 1752, to mark the Dauphin's convalescence. Jousting on the Seine, a show with a mythological theme, fireworks, illuminations, games and balls in the gardens made the day memorable: " The day of the Saint-Cloud festivities was a day without night".
Thirty-three years later, the party was over, and on February 20, 1785, Marie-Antoinette bought the estate in her own name for six million francs. The estate left the hands of the d'Orléans family.
Born in Paris on October 6, 1773, and dying in exile in Claremont, UK, on August 26, 1850, Louis-Philippe attended Saint-Cloud as a child, when the estate belonged to his grandfather Louis-Philippe d'Orléans.
You can still discover two reminders of his childhood at the estate. The carré des 24 Arpents houses the remains of the training fort set up for his military education, and the jardin de Valois is the small, walled private garden he requested from his grandfather at the age of seven.
This direct descendant of Monsieur was the first of the Orléans line to accede to the throne. After the abdication of Charles X, the Chamber of Deputies proclaimed him the new King of the French.
The memory of his early years guides the king's desire to embellish the palace. The July monarchy was a period of major works. The château's decoration was reviewed, Mignard's paintings in the Galerie d'Apollon were restored and a new library was created. In the park, the waterfall was restored, statues were installed and the king commissioned the design of new promenades with picturesque views.