My Travel Blog

Touring Chateau de Compiegne

Eleven years ago we visited Chateau de Compiegne on our first barge Tigre Rose.  We have such fond memories of that visit and the surrounding areas that we plan on returning this year.

Compiegne was built as a royal residence for Louis XV, and was one of the three seats of government for the French kings.  The others were Versailles and Fontainebleau, so you know it had to be over the top.  Compiegne was started in 1374 for Charles V, though it wasn’t until Louis XV that it hit the big time.   Because of its proximity to the Compiegne Forest even before the castle was built it had been a favorite summer home of the French monarchy since the seventh century.  During his reign Louis XIV stayed there 75 times.  Comte de Chevergny said about Louis XV, “Hunting was his main passion… and Compiegne, with its endless avenues amongst trees, with its stretches down which you could ride all day and never come to the end, was the ideal place to indulge that passion.”

Not as grand as Versailles or Fontainebleau, but still nice.

A very nice sculpture.

This arbor must have been a mile long.

A complete renovation of the castle was started in 1751 for Louis XV and took 37 years.  During the French revolution the castle was gutted and all the furniture sold off.  Napoleon first visited the castle in 1799.  In 1804 he ordered that Compiegne be made habitable again.  Architects, decorators and cabinetmakers were all brought in to complete the renovation.  A ballroom was added and the gardens were replanted and linked to the forest.

I’ve always wanted a bedroom where I could entertain twenty of my closest friends.

A nice little sitting room.

A nice little ballroom.

There are now three separate museums in the chateau: The royal apartments, the Museum of the Second Empire, and my favorite the National car Museum.  The car museum was founded in 1927 and its collection contains bicycles, carriages and of course cars.  The gardens are extensive.  We ended up strolling through them for hours.

Part of the bike collection.

An interesting tandem bike.

Less than 50 miles north of Paris, Compiegne makes for an easy day trip and is well worth visiting.

We are having lots of work done to Rabelo this winter and spring including Lisa is getting a new kitchen.  Hopefully our second home will be ready for our arrival the beginning of May.  The current plan is to meet Rabelo in Gent.  We’ve been told it is a beautiful town half way between Brussels and Brugge or Bruges depending on how you want to spell it. Once we meet up with Rabelo we will get settled in and do some sightseeing around Gent and then head for Bruges.  Hopefully from Bruges we can go back to Compiegne, but we will have to see.  Remember we are on a barge, so we have to be flexible.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.