The Library | La bibliothèque | Château de Malmaison | Paris-38
By knocking down the partition walls of three small rooms, Fontaine was able to create a very large library, panelled by the Jacob Brothers entirely with mahogany. Louis Lafitte is probably the creator of the figures of great authors in the vaulted ceiling. A hidden staircase, the entrance of which is hidden behind the mirrors, enabled Napoleon to make his way discreetly to his apartment on the first floor.
“The Château de Malmaison[…]is a French château[…]located near the western bank of the Seine about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of the centre of Paris.
“Formerly the residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, along with the Tuileries it was the headquarters of the French government from 1800 to 1802, and Napoleon's last residence in France at the end of the Hundred Days in 1815.
“Joséphine de Beauharnais bought the manor house in April 1799 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[…]that encompassed nearly 150 acres (0.61 km2) of woods and meadows.
“Upon his return, Bonaparte expressed fury 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, needed extensive renovations, and she spent a fortune doing so. Malmaison would bring great happiness to the Bonapartes. Joséphine's daughter, Hortense would call it ‘a delicious spot’.
“After her divorce from Napoléon, Joséphine received Malmaison in her own right, along with a pension of 5 million francs a year, and remained there until her death in 1814. Napoléon returned and took residence in the house after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (1815), before his exile to the island of Saint Helena.”