Chalet Napoleon 3Chalet Napoleon 3
©Chalet Napoleon 3|Xavier Thomas

Napoleon III cottages

Adornments of the high society of the Second Empire

As early as the Second Empire, entire neighborhoods of villas emerged at the initiative of private owners under the emulation of Napoleon III. His imperial will is also expressed in this staging of the new Vichy through the existence of cottages along the current boulevard des États-Unis…

109 Bd des États-Unis

Chalet Marie-Louise

Entrusted to Jean Lefaure, State architect for the Compagnie Fermière, this first residence bears the name of Marie-Louise. Completed in 1863, it is decorated with faux ochre and yellow bricks arranged in a checkerboard pattern and light wood friezes. But its galleries, on two levels, where the emperor liked to smoke and chat in good company, overlooked the street. Napoleon III was annoyed at being at the mercy of unwelcome admirers. Moreover, an imperial domestic dispute put an end to the empress’s stay in Vichy in July 1863. This would explain Napoleon III’s request to the architect Lefaure to build two other chalets. One, in honor of his imperial lady, to be forgiven his amorous incartades. And, the other in order to find more intimacy.

107 Bd des États-Unis

Chalet de l'Empereur

This other imperial residence, built in 1864 by Lefaure, was intended to compensate for the disadvantages of the first. Although it retains the Louisiana style of the Marie-Louise chalet, it responds to the imperial wishes: not to be subjected to the crowds of curious people. Also, its galleries are oriented to the west on the park Napoleon III.

105 Bd des États-Unis

Chalet Eugenie

This new resort, the Eugenie or Empress chalet, is located next to the Marie-Louise villa. Inspired by the Swiss chalets of Arenenberg where the emperor spent his childhood, it was completed in 1864. Its elegant architecture, with its wooden lace on the cornice, its gables pierced with decorative clovers, its balconies with balusters, its reception rooms, its ten rooms and its openings on the park were not enough to seduce the scorned noble wife. Eugénie de Montijo never returned to Vichy.

101 Bd des États-Unis

Chalet des Roses

Built in 1864, the name of this Savoyard-style chalet could be linked to its architectural effect, its walls grouted with a pebble drowned in pink cement, and its rosebushes in the garden.

109 bis Bd des États-Unis

Chalet Clermont-Tonnerre

1863, Napoleon III’s orderly, the Count of Clermont-Tonnerre, placed an order for a chalet in the same architectural vein as the imperial villas. This was where the security service was housed. Some sources indicate that an underground gallery connected it to the Marie-Louise and Emperor’s cottages for the passage of cooked food. It is logical to assume that it was also a discreet way for the security service to watch over Napoleon III.

103 Bd des États-Unis

Saint-Sauveur cottage

In 1905, Dr. Eugène Willemin called upon the architect Antoine Percilly to build the Saint-Sauveur chalet as an extension of the particular atmosphere of the Second Empire chalets.

111 Bd des États-Unis

Villa Therapia

The villa was built in 1864, for a deputy and banker of the Gard, Ernest André. This one did not have the leisure to enjoy it. He died suddenly that year. The villa was destroyed in 1988 to allow the construction of the current hotel spa “Les Célestins”.


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