Built between 1475 and 1507 the Hotel de Sens is one of three medieval private residences remaining in Paris. The façade is an imposing beast, a fortress reminiscent of battles, sieges and armored knights. Henri IV’s ex-wife, Queen Margot, resided here in 1605 to which she lent her slightly demented flair. The building now houses the Forney Art Library and students populate the interior. It’s free and open to the public but make sure you catch it when it’s open, 1:30 – 8pm, closed Sunday and Monday or you’ll be reduced to fits that you can’t get inside this amazing edifice.
1 rue du Figuier, 75004
Joséphine bought the manor house in April 1797 for herself and her husband, General Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Napoléon I of France, at that time away fighting the Egyptian Campaign. Malmaison was a run-down estate, seven miles (12 km) west of central Paris that encompassed nearly 150 acres (0.61 km2) of woods and meadows.
Upon his return, Bonaparte was furious at Joséphine for purchasing such an expensive house with the money she had expected him to bring back from the Egyptian campaign. The house, for which she had paid well over 300,000 francs, and she spend a fortune doing extensive renovation. Despite this, Malmaison brought great happiness to the Bonapartes.
Joséphine endeavored to transform the large estate into “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation”. She located rare and exotic plants and animals to enhance the gardens. Joséphine wrote: “I wish that Malmaison may soon become the source of riches for all [of France]”…
Fancy hovering over Paris in a helium-filled, 32 metre-high balloon? Then head to this well designed park and do just that. Securely attached to the ground by cable you can float 150m into the air to enjoy amazing views of many city landmarks, including the Eiffel tower. It’s one of the best vistas in Paris – so get your camera ready!
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