Looking at the Compiegne Palace today, which owes so much of its appearance to the efforts of Louis XV, Louis XVI and Napoleons I and III, you would never guess that its history goes all the way back to 843, when Charles the Bald ordered the construction of the first palace there. Nor would you guess that this is where Joan of Arc was wounded and imprisoned, unless you are reminded by Fremiet’s equestrian statue of her, located more or less on the spot of her capture.
This tour of Compiegne takes you to a place which the kings and queens of France visited frequently. Much of what you see, however, is the result of the efforts of Jacques and Jacques Ange Gabriel. This is where Louis XVI was first introduced to Marie Antoinette in 1770. Forty years later, her great niece, Marie Louise, arrived here from Austria to meet her husband after her marriage-by-proxy to Napoleon I. The Compiegne Palace was also the favorite residence of Napoleon III and empress Eugenie. A two hour tour of the apartments of the palace evokes these and other historic events that took place here.
The palace also houses a fascinating collection of some fifty historic vehicles, from 18th C. coaches, to 19th C. omnibuses and early 20th C. motor cars. World War I buffs can also visit in the near-by forest a prototype of the railway car in which Marechal Foch accepted the German surrender at the end of WWI and Hitler accepted the French surrender early in WWII.
Paris Luxury Tours usually proposes this tour of Compiegne in conjunction with its tour of Senlis and its tour of Chantilly, to make a complete one day excursion from Paris. For details of those tours, please click on the appropriate selections at the left of this page.