The Objects

17th Apr 1815

Source: © Présidence de la République – L.Blevennec

Napoleon leaves the Tuileries for the Élysée Palace

Contributed by: Mark Philp

On 17 April 1815 Napoleon moved his residence from the Tuileries. This palace had been built as a domestic residence under the orders of Catherine De’ Medici in the 1570s and connected by a gallery to the Louvre under Henri IV. The Louvre subsequently acted as the formal office of the state with the Tuileries as a domestic residence for the King when in Paris.

Vincent Cronin has suggested that Napoleon moved from the Tuileries to the smaller Élysée palace once it became clear that his wife, Marie Louise and their young son Napoleon, King of Rome, were not going to join him in Paris. While in exile, Marie Louise had first vacillated about whether to join her husband in Elba and had then been suborned in Vienna by an affair with Count Adam Adelbert von Neipperg (who was acting in part on Metternich’s instructions). She failed to answer Napoleon’s letters, and never communicated with him again.

His wife’s abandonment, and the absence of his son (now firmly under Austrian control), despite direct pleas for their return to Napoleon’s side, made the Tuileries, in which the couple had lived when in Paris since their marriage in 1810, seem deserted. The Élysée palace, was smaller and had fewer associations with the first years of Napoleon’s largely happy second marriage.

Geolocation

The Élysée was originally known as L’hôtel d’Évreux. It was constructed between 1718 and 1722 by Mollet for the son in law of the Comte d’Évreux. and in the 1740s became the Parisian residence of the Marquise de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV. It was taken into public ownership during the revolution and subsequently sold to the revolutionary general Joachim Murat in 1805.

Murat had married Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Bonaparte, in 1800, and played an important part in several of Napoleon’s campaigns. When he was made King of Naples in 1808, secret protocols of agreement transferred all Murat’s French properties into the care of Napoleon as a surety for good conduct. The palace’s name seems to have been changed under Napoleon to the Élysée-Napoléon. Napoleon lived their briefly in 1809, subsequently permitting his first wife Josephine to use it. He resumed control of it in 1812.

After his defeat at Waterloo, on 22 June 1815 Napoleon signed his abdication as Emperor in the palace’s Boudoir d'Argent. The palace has been the official residence for the President of the French Republic since 1873.

Further reading
Vincent Cronin, Napoleon (London, 1994), p. 398.


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