THE RESIDENCES of Mme de Pompadour


The La Muette Castle (map)

It was a hunting place of the Valois family, gave by Catherine De Medici to her daughter Margaret, the forthcoming wife of Henry IV. Under the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV it was occupied by the Captaincy of Hunting and become royal house lately, at the death of the Duchess de Berry. She had this house by her father the Regent.

As a child Louis XV used to spend his holiday here, when he lived at the Tuileries; he learned to ride horses here, to go hunting as well as to be attracted by its optics laboratory.

During a few works the Gabriel family (father and son) transformed the court and the garden of the building.

In spring 1751, the King and Madame de Pompadour opened the salon at the ground floor that could host 85 people for lunch.

1741-1745 Louis XV asks the architects Gabriel to reconstruct the Muette (the second castle of La Muette), the main building, the castle itself, bordered by two independent pavilions (the size of small castles) and a few dependences.

1749 The King holds the assemblies of the Council at the castle.

1750 The “curiosities parlour”, that is a scientific laboratory and a museum at the same time, is built in the gardens of La Muette. The Father Natale, an erudite Benedictine monk, is responsible for the scientific field of the place; he organizes public demonstrations for the people who visit the place.

1753 Louis XV, who definitely lives there, decides to build a long avenue that cuts the park called “le Bois de Boulogne” up to the Seine close to Saint-Cloud, in order to see Bellevue castle, where Madame de Pompadour lives.

The King thinks to build a new castle at La Muette, right in front of Bellevue, but the expenses for the Seven Year war prevents him to do it.
In the garden at the first floor Madame de Pompadour had an apartment, decorated in white and light blue; in August 1748 and January 1749, her bedroom was provided with an imperial bed by Sallier and with some piece of furniture made by Gaudreaux, the cabinet-maker.

She could enjoy the sight of the flower-beds, the oasis far from the green carpets, the avenues bordered by lime-trees pruned in a ball shape; on the right side the woods, the flower-beds of the orange plantation, the swing one, on the left the façade of the orange plantation and the orchard.