Chateau de Rambouillet is the summer residence of the Presidents of France. Originally it was a fortified manor house dating from the mid-14th century. In the late 18th century, the chateau became the private property of Louis XVI, who bought it as an extension of his hunting grounds. It was not to his wife's liking, however: Queen Marie-Antoinette is said to have exclaimed: "Comment pourrais-je vivre dans cette gothique crapaudière!" (How could I live in this Gothic toadhouse!)
During the French Revolution, the domain of Rambouillet became national property, the castle being emptied of its furnishings and the gardens and surrounding park falling into neglect. During the reign of Napoleon I, Rambouillet was included in the list of government-owned property at the disposal of the head of state. The emperor came several times to Rambouillet, the last being on the night of 29-30 June 1815, on his way to exile to Saint Helena.
After the fall of Napoleon III in 1870, the domain of Rambouillet was leased ffor 13 years to the duc de la Trémoille. Then, in February 1896, Rambouillet received a visit from President Félix Faure who decided to spend his summers there with his family. Since that time, the château has become the summer residence of the Presidents of the Republic, and is sometimes referred to as the Palace of Rambouillet.
Rue de la Motte, 78120 Rambouillet
Tel: 01 34 83 00 25
Open daily except Tuesday, guided visits only at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm (and 5pm, April-September).