Jean Pierre Gilson
The castle de Compiègne

A 4 in 1 Castle

During your visit to the castle de Compiègne you will have the choice between four visiting routes: the historic apartments, the Museum of the Second Empire, the National Car Museum and the Empress Museum. It is also possible to discover the Louis-Philippe Theater with a tour guide. 

Historic apartments

The Revolution led to the dispersal of the furniture in 1795 and only a few pieces have been able to return today. In 1799 a military prytaneum was installed in castle ; he is at the origin of the School of Arts and Crafts (1803) which was established in Châlons-sur-Marne in 1806. It was necessary to restore this residence to its original function.  
So Napoleon I gave the order on April 12, 1807 to restore Compiègne. Immediately, major interior work was launched, under the direction of the architect Louis-Martin Berthaut, who had just worked for Joséphine at Malmaison. They took place from 1808 to 1810 and led to a new distribution of spaces and, above all, new decors with furniture which has partly come down to us.  
The Emperor occupied the king's former apartment while the Empress was housed at the end of the terrace; the Queen's former apartment became an apartment intended for a foreign sovereign. Most of the wall decorations are the work of the workshops of Dubois and Redouté while the furniture was made by Jacob-Desmalter and Marcion. These are the most complete apartments of the First Empire in France. 

Opening hours
  • From March 15 to November 1: 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. 
  • November 2 to March 14: 10 a.m. to 16 p.m.   
NMR - GP (domain de Compiègne) - S. Maréchalle
NMR - GP (domain de Compiègne) - T. Olivier
NMR - GP (domain de Compiègne) - R. Prat
Isabelle Amans - Oise Tourism

The Museum of the Second Empire

The Second Empire is inseparable de Compiègne. Napoleon III particularly appreciated the castle, organizing there with the Empress Eugénie in the autumn the famous “series” which brought together a hundred guests each week for four to six consecutive weeks. Personalities close to power, foreign sovereigns or princes, diplomats, writers, artists, scientists found themselves in the quasi-intimacy of the imperial family. Hunting, excursions, games, concerts and plays occupied the days when the constraints of etiquette were forgotten. Arrangements were then made to receive guests and significant contemporary furniture was introduced. The Emperor also built the Galerie Neuve, known as the Galerie Natoire, in order to be able to directly access the Imperial Theatre, which he was building on the other side of the rue d'Ulm, and which remained unfinished in 1870.

Opening time :

Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

  • From March 15 to November 1: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • From November 2 to March 14: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 16:15 p.m. to 18 p.m.  
Castle of de Compiègne - Mr. Poirier

The National Car Museum

In 1927, the first museum in the world dedicated to land locomotion opened in Compiègne. The National Car Museum offers you a breathtaking collection of horse-drawn and automobile vehicles.  
Marvel at the sumptuous 100th century carriages or the Delahaye of the Duchess of Uzès. Discover the first steam or... electric automobiles in history like the famous "Jamais contente", the first vehicle to reach XNUMX km/h. 

Opening time :
  • From March 15 to November 1: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • From November 2 to March 14: Mondays and Fridays, 16:15 p.m. to 18 p.m.; Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 14 p.m.-18 p.m. 
NMR - GP (domain de Compiègne) - T. Querrec

The Empress Museum 

As a counterpoint to the Second Empire Museum, the Empress Museum reveals the intimate life of sovereigns. This collection, initiated by Doctor Ferrand and donated to the City de Compiègne in 1951, brings together moving accounts of the daily life of a family with an exceptional destiny, from the birth of the Empire to exile in England after 1870.

The descendants of the imperial house enriched it with numerous objects piously preserved by Empress Eugénie herself, like relics of a past belonging to national history. It is in the rooms of the Empress Museum that the rich collections of the graphic arts cabinet are presented in rotation.

Opening time :

Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

  • From March 15 to November 1: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • From November 2 to March 14: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 16:15 p.m. to 18 p.m. 
NMR-GP (domain de Compiègne) - S. Maréchalle
NMR-GP (domain de Compiègne) - S. Maréchalle
NMR-GP (domain de Compiègne) - S. Maréchalle
Collection Jean-Baptiste Leroux, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais Jean-Baptiste Leroux
Zoom on

The Louis-Philippe Theater

This court theater was fitted out by the architect Nepveu in 1832, in a few weeks on the site of the former tennis court, for the marriage of Louis-Philippe's daughter, Louise d'Orléans, to Léopold I, King of the Belgians.

Inaugurated on August 10 of the same year during the ceremonies of this marriage where the troop of the Opéra-Comique gave Picaros and Diego and The Prisoner or The Resemblance, the theater was not definitively finished until 1835...

At the time of Louis-Philippe, two works were essentially performed, an opera and a ballet or two comic operas; while under the reign of Napoleon III, between 1852 and 1859 during the Series, the repertoire followed the new fashion and consisted of comedies of manners interpreted by the troupes of the Comédie-Française, the Odéon or the Vaudeville.

After the fall of the Empire, the theater only saw occasional use, notably during the stay of Tsar Nicolas II in September 190I.

Not having been the subject of any restoration in the 1830th century, the Louis-Philippe Theater retains, in working order, its traditional wooden machinery allowing the scenery to be changed on sight, which is still in place. Its large central chandelier, fitted with Carcel lamps, offers the possibility of restoring the same lighting as during the Second Empire. This auditorium, which is a unique example of a court theater from the XNUMXs, is today the only one to ensure the transition between the palatine rooms of the XNUMXth century and the theaters of the Napoleon III period. 

Useful information :

The theater can only be visited with a lecturer. Due to the cramped space and for the comfort of the visit, groups are limited to 15 people.

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