Rueil-Malmaison – home of Napoleon and Josephine and the Imperial Jubilee

Rueil-Malmaison – home of Napoleon and Josephine and the Imperial Jubilee.

Commune Rueil-Malmaison is the hometown of General Napoleon Bonaparte before he became Emperor of France. He married his first wife Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796. She bought the Château de Malmaison in Rueil-Malmaison in 1799, a run-down manor house on 150 acres of woods and meadows, for 300,000 francs. It was cheap, it was near Versailles, and it was only 12 kilometres (7 miles) from the centre of Paris – in the western suburbs. 

Josephine commenced renovations to the manor and turned it into a castle – Château de Malmaison. She stayed in the Château after their divorce in 1810 until her death in 1814.

To boost tourism in Rueil-Malmaison, every two years the commune holds the Jubilé impérial– The Imperial Jubilee – also known as Napoleon Bonaparte’s parade. The Imperial Jubilee commenced 10 years ago in 2012, but being held every two years, this year was its 4th season. 

From 19-25 September 2022, Rueil-Malmaison showcased events to re-live the citizens’ lives under the Empire with Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine – court life, military life, and civilian life – culminating with a parade on Sunday 25 September. 

The theme for the 2022 Imperial Jubilee was the beginning of the Empire and the establishment of the Court in 1804 – and dedicated to the legend of the Eagle. 

Napoleon Bonaparte established an innovative court, that was not an imitation of Versailles, nor the Holy Roman Empire, nor the major European courts. Instead, the new court drew upon sources of Roman antiquity, the French tradition, and the customs of the great European courts.

The parade participants camped in a nearby park for the duration of the celebrations, which was also open to the public to view  ‘camp life’ of the 1800s.

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