There are many romantic day-trips from Paris and within easy reach of the capital in the Ile-de France region. This romantic excursions are ideal for residents of the city or repeat visitors to Paris. In conjunction with my podcast, Romancing in Paris, I’m going to be highlighting some of the best. For our first journey beyond the city limits, I’ve chosen a venue which is not only romantic in ambiance, but also in its history. We’re venturing to a lover’s castle with connections to one of the greatest couples in French history: le Château de Malmaison. Below is an introduction, but I recommend you listen to the podcast episode for the full details as we’re joined special guest, Dr Susan Taylor-Leduc, an art historian and the founder of Picturesque Voyages.
A Romantic Castle & Gardens near Paris
The castle is found around 15 kilometers west of central Paris, now in the suburb of Rueil-Malmaison. It began as a manor house in the 14th century, which was rebuilt in the Renaissance style over the course of the 1600s. In 1799 the estate was sold to Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, who owned the castle until her death in 1814.
In this fascinating episode of the podcast, Dr Taylor-Leduc tells us more about Josephine’s life, her relationship with Napoléon, the work she undertook at Malmaison and the top romantic spots at the castle and its gorgeous gardens!
Listen to it on Paris Underground Radio at this link, Apple Podcasts or wherever your usual podcast streaming app!
If you would like to learn more about the castle onsite, consider booking a tour with Dr Susan Taylor-Leduc. Through her company Picturesque Voyages she offers a range of tours connecting gardens, art, history and gastronomy. Joséphine is one of her specialities and thus she can offer amazing insight into this important figure in French history as well as the Chateau de Malmaison. More information on the Picturesque Voyages website.
Getting to the Chateau de Malmaison & Practical Information
The castle is close to the Rueil-Malmaison station on RER A (direction Saint-Germain-en-Laye), only around a 15-20 min journey from Chatelet, Opera or Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile stations, then it’s a 30 minute walk or from the RER you can take bus 258 (direction Rueil-Malmaison-La Jonchère) ou bus 259 (direction Saint-Germain-en-Laye), and get off at the “Le Château” stop. Alternatively, you can take line 1 to La Défense, then take bus 258 to the “Le Château” stop (25 minutes) (a separate ticket is required for the bus).
The park is open from 10am to 6pm and until 6:30 April-September. The interior of the castle is open from 10am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 5.15pm, until 5.45pm on week-ends and from April to September this is extended to to 5.45pm, until 6.15pm on week-ends. Therefore, plan accordingly and you can visit or picnic in the park.
At the time of publication, the cost of entrance was €6.50 Concession: €5 (non-EU citizens under 26), free for EU citizens under 26 and other conditions (there’s also a €2 supplement during exhibits). Park entrance only is €1.50. Further details can be found on the castle’s website here.