Monday, May 5, 2014

~Empress Josephine at the Musee du Luxembourg~

After a simple baguette sandwich lunch on a bench 
in the Jardin du Luxembourg
during my recent birthday trip to Paris,
I visited the Musee du Luxembourg
to see the exhibit of Josephine de Beauharnais,
mistress then wife then divorcee of Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The exhibit marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Josephine
on May 29th, 1814. 

The exhibit showed off not only various art pieces she'd collected 
but also luscious articles of her clothing... 

Below is just one panel of a gorgeous, gilded armoire from her bedroom... 

several likenesses done of her 
by different artists

and ornate furniture from her collection.

A jewelry box?

Imagine this mirror in your bedroom!

Josephine was a beauty who took lovers 
with a pragmatic eye 
aimed at serving her best (usually financial) interests. 

Napoleon, who began the relationship madly in love with her,
learned of her first lover 
and their relationship was never the same. 
The many love letters he wrote to her
became less frequent and passionate
as he then took his own lovers. 
When she could produce him no direct heirs,
and her grandson who had been named Napoleon's heir, died of croup,
Napoleon finally divorced her to marry another
but insisted that she keep her title as Empress.
And they remained friends.

Josephine was an accomplished harpist.
Below, a painting of her music room.

And one of her boudoir.

Josephine died of pneumonia at her beloved Chateau de Malmaison
which she bought and remodeled while married to Napoleon.
When he learned of her death, 
Napoleon locked himself in a room for two days,
refusing entrance to anyone. 
When he died, 
his last sentence 
ended with the word, Josephine.

For more on the exhibit, click HERE.

Exhibit: Josephine~ 
March 12/2014-June 29,2104

19 rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris
Open daily: 10-7:30pm
10am-10pm Fridays and Mondays

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)
Info via Wikipedia


  1. I love that Kirsten. Didn't get to visit those gardens though we weren't far. I read this once, but unsure about its authenticity. About to return from war, Napoleon sent a missive to Josephine. The letter said, "I'll be home in 3 days. Don't bathe".

  2. OH MY....I did not know she was a harpist! And that dress...Kirsten, happy belated birthday! I had one too, and now I remember that we both share an April birthday around the same week!

    Your trips to Paris are full of good food, friends and fabulous places. How I missed SO MUCH on our trip there, and we were there for 8 days! But I remember being in one of the parks with my husband. We sat on a bench and were exhausted and just fell asleep on a bench...pick-pockets or not, we didn't care. We just slept! We had come off the heels of touring Italy and La Dordogne, Nice and the rest of Provence!

    Happy day my dear. Anita

  3. Quite beautiful -- another spot to add on my "next time" list! happy day!

  4. Love the fashion and that swan chair. Wow. Think I'll add that to the next trip.


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