Archive for May 22nd, 2018

May 22, 2018

One more look at Rambouillet!

Indeed, a nice town, very much visited in the past and its time to bring it back in my blog. This is in my old backyard , easy from Paris for those visitors of architecture and history.  On a sunny windy day in my neck of the woods at 22C or about 72F.

I am talking of course of Rambouillet, yes there is a castle from the monarchies ,emperors and presidents of France it has it all.

I found a picture  circa 2011  in my vault and rather than re do a post, will post it here. It all goes to Rambouillet palais du roi de Rome a nice spot to visit in my belle France.


Rambouillet is in department 78 Yvelines in the region of  Ïle de France. It is at about 45 km (28 mi)  from Paris and 29 km (18 mi) from Versailles, the capital of the department 78.  Very well connected town by road with the main routes, the N10 avoiding city center passing on the east in direction of  Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Versailles, and  Paris (the prefer route) as it also connects you to the autoroutes  A12, A13 and  A86, as well as the nice D191 towards Mantes-la-Jolie, and to the west direction Chartres connecting with the autoroutes A10 ,and  A11 by Ablis . Also,  the D906 connecting Rambouillet with Maintenon on the west, and the D936 connecting Rambouillet with  Houdan and onwards to Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines and  Dourdan. All good roads and many times traveled by yours ; truly. Train never came by it here but you have the regional Transilien Paris-Montparnasse and the TER Val de Loire-Centre passing by here to Rambouillet and onwards to Chartres.

A bit of history I like

It is said that the first mention of Rambouillet was in 768AD and from there many deviations in name until  after the French revolution and the current name. The derivation of the name is still questionable and many variations of the meaning  however, the ancient texts tell us the town grew up in the current neighborhood of  Groussay and the old lordship of  Montorgueil where today we have the famous bergerie nationale.

As you can imagine, very old and conflicting area, so will cut the history short.  Thanks to the heritage of mother Amicie, Simon V is at the head of a vast domain including Montfort, Rochefort, and the forest of the yvelines. He goes on the 4th crusade in 1202 upon returning he brings a piece of the True Cross that is today in a relicaire in the Church of Rambouillet. In 1209, he goes to battle the Albigeoises (cathars) in front of  Béziers, and goes on crusade that ends in the battle of Muret that he wins, however he was killed in 1218 on the ramparts of Toulouse. His oldest son Amaury inherits all but cannot keep the territory of his father given away to the Count of Toulouse and the albigeois lands to king Louis VIII of France in 1224.  In 1368, Jeanne de Breucourt heir to Rambouillet sells to Jehan Bernier the houses and rights to the village of Rambouillet; it is this later that transform the mansion here into a castle, the beginning of what we see today. The king  François Ier, died in 1547 at the Castle.

In December 29 1783 king Louis XVI buys the castle and by 1785 ordered built the milk pet farm or bergerie for Marie Antoinette.  The French revolution of course takes it all, and stayed abandoned until 1809 emperor Napoléon Ier bequeathed to the city of Rambouillet.  The Château de Rambouillet was the scene of many international events such as the economic summit of the G6 of 1975 with the USA, Great Britain, Italy ,Japan, West Germany, and France. The conference of  Rambouillet, negotiations for the peace in Kosovo between the independent Kosovars and  Serbia under the NATO in 1999. The old hunting lodge host several personalities such as the Duke of Édimbourg, Prince  Rainier of Monaco ; on the side you have the military outpost of Des Gardes or Caserne Des Gardes.

Things to see in Rambouillet

The Château de Rambouillet,built between 1368 and 1384 ,receiving visitors such as François Rabelais,doctor of the king and king François Ier that loved to hunt here in 1547, died on a tower that afterward kept his name. It was the property of the Angennes family for almost 3 centuries from 1384 to 1699 and later by  Joseph Fleuriau d’Armenonville, guard of Sceaux of France and count of Toulouse,legitimate natural son of king  Louis XIV, and  Madame de Montespan, later of his son the Duke of  Penthièvre ; finally acquired in  1783  by king Louis XVI . After the French revolution in 1789 it was emperor  Napoléon 1er that restored it ; while in route to the port of Rochefort where he was to sailed to America ,he spent a night here in 1815 before his final departure  in exile for Sainte-Hélène.  In 1830, king Charles X escaping Paris from the insurrection of the three glorious days or the  Trois Glorieuses, reached  Rambouillet with most of his family, court, and the rest of his troops still loyal, they camped in the park and on a room of the castle in August 2 1830, the king and the dauphin heir abdique in favor of the young Duke of Bordeaux. President of France Félix Faure made of  Rambouillet  his official residence in summer of 1896, and until 2009 Rambouillet was one of the official residences of the President of France ; now it is used for conferences, meetings etc.


Chateau de Rambouillet from the gardens

Other places to see are the Saint Lubin and St John the Baptist Church , rue de la République at place Jeanne d’Arc built early 1868 and opened for service in 1871 replacing a Church by the same name dating from the 10C. The king of Rome palace or Palais du roi de Rome  was built from  1784 on orders of king Louis XVI to served as a government mansion and later change by emperor Napoleon  Ier that made it into the residence of his son the king of Rome.  The government hotel or mansion was change in 1812 to the Palais du Roi and kept the name until the Restoration of the monarchy  in 1830. By 1989 the city of Rambouillet buys the property to host expositions, and cultural events as well as created a museum of the game of goose or the musée du Jeu de l’oie .

There is the unique monument to the memory and recognition or the monument du Souvenir et de la reconnaissance,also known as the American monument or monument américain, as well as the American Eagle Monument  done by veterans of the August 1944-45  combats in the area erected on the way of out of Rambouillet  on the route de Gazeran.  This is in memory to the American Soldiers dead for the liberation of this region in August 1944.  In 1945, the local people under M. Claude Lyonnais,and the committee for the memory monument do everything to built this monument where two American patrols felled by an ambush of August 16 1944 ; the owners of the land where the Americans felled gave it as bequest to the city so the monument can be built. The monument opened in June 1947 by then President of France  M. Vincent Auriol, Jefferson Caffery, US Ambassador to France and Doctor  Petit, new major of Ramboullet, as well as many personalities civil and military of France and the USA.

Adjacent to the castle you can see the Chaumiére aux coquillages, built in 1775 all done in shells. The Laiterie de la Reine, a little farm adore by Marie Antoinette, all in the middle of an English garden. All done with tiles and marble with a dome ,open every day see same webpage as the castle above. The gardens and park of the domaine where the castle is takes from a French garden to terraces, and bushes, trees, a little stream in many sites, and little isles around them. It was created by the Duke of Penthiévre in 1779. Great park for a picnic which I have done with the family.

There is the wonderful Rambolitrain, train museum that my boys love it, opened in 1984 and one of the most important museums in France on train miniature models  showing the history of railroad from the origins to today with many train toys and train toy stores of the 1930’s. It is a minituare train museum great for old and young alike, my kids love it. More than 4000 pieces on display with model railroad station and running trains.  You have, the cavern of Ali Baba, a re creation of a toy store from the 1930’s.  Its located at 4 place Jeanne d’Arc,city center.  We love it. The museum of the goose or  Musée du jeu de l’oie opened since 2001, shows a collection by Pierre Dietsch, of more than 2400 games of goose. The Bergerie Nationale also has a museum of the Sheep or musée du mouton. Built by king Louis XVI with imported merino sheeps from Spain. It has a working farm with about 1000 sheeps. There are cows and donkeys, goats,pigs,horses, all living as before. You can have horse wagon rides, and demonstrations. Near the castle.  There is the Espace Rambouillet,a place to observed animals in the forest by the public. The Espace Rambouillet offers you an introduction to the forest of Rambouillet. With over 100 kinds of wild birds of prey plus wild pigs,deers, etc you can see them up close with different themes in the Forêt des Cerfs, Forêt Sauvage, and Forêt des Aigles. It is on road D27 between Rambouillet and Clairefontaine, follow the N10 from Rambouillet .also, the forest of Rambouillet, covering  over  200 km2,  with a vast ensemble of oak trees .

Ahh an update found me a photo of the Carrousel des Palais at Place Félix Faure which we walked by when in town, so figure need to post it here as with many photos they are hard to find if any lol!


Eating places , I had quick formule du jour at Cafe de la Gare, 10 place Ferdinand Prud’homme  ,yes its next to the train station in city center. For evenings and French traditional resto I have try the Le Cheval Rouge, 78 rue du Général de Gaulle , which is the road up from the castle going into city center.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here to wonderful Rambouillet in the Yvelines of my memories of France!

City of Rambouillet on tourism :

Tourism Rambouillet in English:

Castle of Rambouillet in English:

Bergerie nationale in French:

Dept 78 Yvelines tourism on Rambouillet in French:

Ïle de France region tourism on Rambouillet in English:

There you have it a whole royal, imperial, and presidential city to you. Ready to be visited easy from Paris or Versailles. Enjoy it. And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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