Go to Rueil-Malmaison in the Shadow of Napoleon
"Why We Went There"
We were beginners to European travel, having only been there twice before. We were staying with couple (relatives) who had swapped homes with a French couple (children of next door neighbors of theirs). They had been in Paris for a month and had exhausted their local curiosities. Mt. St. Michel is too far. How about Malmaison, nobody seems to ever go there! Why? It is all about Napoleon. So we went. Now 25 years and 15 trips to France later, we can pass judgement. First we are not that crazy about Napoleon yet we have taken children and grandchildren to the Invalides and Versailles and have visited Fontainbleau on a couple of occasions. Yet they are not as focussed on Napoleania as much as the Chateau of Malmaison. Here you really get to feel his introspective ego.
When we went there, we took the RER to Rueil-Maison station. At that time a bus went by that went out to the chateau. The are has added about a million population since then and the instructions on the internet say to take a bus from a different RER station. It was near noon when we finished and there was no no bus likely to go by, so we walked the mile back to the R-M station. We did not know that just to the left a bridge would take us to the Ile des Impressionist and a nice lunch (such tourist information would be a decade or more in becoming ava1lable).That would have made our day!So we stopped in the nearest bar and had Croques Monsieurs , creme bruleeand coffee (almost universally available in those days).
Really this is a trip for Napoleon addicts or those who have seen everything in and around Paris. It is a lovely home for an aristocrat and both Napoleon and Josephine loved it more than they cared for each other. The collection of objects is worthy of the setting (you could not find better stuff ). In addition there is another Chateau de Bois-Preau nearby with more grounds and more things. But then again we are not French. It something like Americans going to Mt. Vernon outside of Washington, D.C. But then you may be an interior decorator, so by all means go!