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The sovereign Grands Appartements

The desire to keep the décor consistent whilst allowing the depth of the château’s history to shine through has been the guiding principle behind its current appearance and behind any restoration work. Visitors today will therefore find it more or less as Napoleon III and Eugenie left it in 1868, with the exception of Napoleon I’s inner apartment, which is shown as it would have been in the First Empire, and Marie Antoinette’s boudoir, which looks more or less as it would have in the 18th century.

Situated on the first floor of the main château building, the royal apartments comprise two long strings of linked rooms. An exterior passageway running the length of the façade in the Cour Ovale permitted them to be both accessed and guarded.

Benefiting from access to the Cour Ovale, situated next to the fortified entrance of the Porte Dorée, the staircase to the King’s Apartment was rebuilt under Louis XV on the site of the Duchess d’Etampes’ chamber. Built by Gabriel, this staircase gave access to the succession of antechambers, chambers, salons and offices.

The Queen’s Apartment was designed to complement it and was laid out in a similar manner, running from the staircase beyond the Serlio Portico. On the north side, it looks out on the garden reserved for the queen (now the Jardin de Diane). The interior décor is largely based on that of the 17th century and it was on the eve of the Revolution that Louis XVI’s inner apartment (now Napoleon’s inner apartment) was incorporated into the extension to the large apartment when the wing of the Francis I Gallery was expanded.