Enchanting Chantereine


Part of Paris: in an elegant part of Paris called the Chaussee D’Antin.

40 rue de la Victoire, Bains Chantereine. (Josephine’s is #60.) The Bains weren’t created until 1831, but in the place of the Théâtre Olympique, which was constructed in 1796, but opened Jan. 30, 1801. Wikipedia


An actress named Louise-Julie Carreau was its first tenant. In March 1780, she took a lease on the house and purchased it for 55,000 francs in December 1781.

On August 17, 1795, Carreau leased the house to Josephine de Beauharnais who, in exchange, sold her small apartment at 371, Rue de l’Universite to the great tragic actor Francois Joseph Talma.

Two months later, Napoleon visited Josephine at her home for the first time.

In December 1795, Josephine extended the lease to the house from three to nine years.

After his marriage to Josephine on March 9, 1796, Napoleon took up residence at No. 6, Rue Chantereine. A few days later, he left to take command of the Army of Italy.

“In 1795 he sold the villa to Josephine de Beauharnais, and he always said that her first payment was made to him from moneys sent to her, by her husband, from Italy.”

December 5, 1797, the date of his return from Italy.

“On December 28, 1797, as a tribute to Napoleon’s victory in Italy, the Central Administration of the Department of the Seine decided to give a new name to Rue Chantereine, the street where he lived. It was renamed the Rue de la Victoire.” When? The house’s address was renumbered No. 60, Rue de la Victoire.

On March 26, 1798, Napoleon purchased the house on the Rue de la Victoire, also known as the Hotel Bonaparte, from the lessor for 52,400 livres.

May 3, 1798, the day he left for Egypt.

his return from Egypt on October 16,1799

November 14 1799 when as First Consul he took up residence with Josephine at the Petit Luxembourg Palace.

Toward the end of the Consulate, the property was remodeled and added to by buying up some surrounding real estate. In May, 1803, a parcel of land of some twenty square yards was purchased which represented the porter’s lodge the property of the Marquis de Saint-Chamans. In May 1804, the property’s garden was extended eastwards by parcels of land of a thousand square yards.

In July 1806, Napoleon gave his former home on the Rue de la Victoire as a dowry to his cousin Marie-Louise-Stephanie-Rolier Benielli. Benielli married Colonel Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes, Napoleon‘s Master of the Horse. After the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1815, Madame Lefebvre sold the house and was exiled with her husband to the United States. After returning from exile, Madame Lefebvre once again recovered the house on August 13, 1823 and kept the property for over thirty-five years. Guerrini wrpte that ”In 1830 and in 1837, she bought further parcels of land to enlarge her garden and to make an exit on the Rue Saint Lazare, where she bought a house and garden.” In 1857, a banker named Joseph Goubie acquired the property and paid over a half million francs to Madame Charles Lefebvre. This sale paved the way for the demolition of the house that served as the haven of Napoleon and Josephine. The house was demolished in 1858 as part of the town-planning and road-works program during the Second Empire of Napoleon III.

Also called Hôtel Bonaparte.


From The House on Rue Chantereine by Ira Grossman:

“According to historian Maurice Guerrini, during Napoleon’s residency, the house consisted of a ground-floor and a first-floor. The ground floor contained an oval dining room which connected to a basement by way of a small stairway. The basement consisted of a cellar, a box-room and a kitchen. This floor also contained a small boudoir decorated with mosaics and a large drawing room lit by tall French-windows leading onto the garden. The drawing room also contained an elegant chimney-piece. Napoleon’s study, which contained a simple oak desk, was located at the far end of the house facing north On the first floor were Josephine’s bed and dressing-room, a small boudoir, and Napoleon’s bedroom. This bedroom was entered by a door carved with Egyptian motifs and was connected to Napoleon’s ground-floor study by a staircase. The first floor also contained a bathroom, located on the half-landing, and a second attic floor above. The rooms on both floors were hung with mirrors and tapestries. The rooms “were always filled with flowers, especially roses from the garden, tastefully arranged by Josephine’s gifted hands,” wrote Guerrini. Josephine’s garden, measured approximately four yards square and occupied the largest part of the site to which it lent a rural air, according to Guerrini.”

So: there is a basement level with the kitchen, storage and a living room overlooking the garden.

On the ground floor is the dining room and Napoleon’s study, which connected to his bedroom above.

On the half-floor landing there is a bathroom.

On the first floor is Josephine’s bedroom and dressing-room, boudoir, and Napoleon’s bedroom (which connects to his study below).

My guess is that there are rooms for Hortense and Eugène and other guests in the attic.

In concluding this story and to give visitors to this website a general idea of what the exterior and the interior of Napoleon and Josephine’s Rue de la Victoire house really looked like at the time, it would be useful to quote from a passage from a novel by the great 19th Century French historical novelist, Alexandre Dumas. Dumas, the author of such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, vividly describes the house as it looked just a few days before the 18th Brumaire coup d’etat. The house is mentioned in a novel which opens with Napoleon’s return from Egypt and ends with the French victory at the Battle of Marengo. The following passage is taken from Dumas’ novel entitled The Company of Jehu:

“Let us jump the distance between Bourg and Paris, and the time which elapsed between the 16th of October and the 7th of November, that is to say, between the 24th Vendemiaire and the 16th Brumaire, and enter about four in the afternoon, the little house in the Rue de la Victoire, made historically famous by the conspiracy of the 18th Brumaire, which issued from it fully armed and equipped, “It is the same house which stands there today, on the right of the street and numbered 60, apparently astonished to present to the eye of the curious passer, after so many changes of government, the consular fasces which may still be seen on each panel of its double oaken door of the house. Let us follow the long and narrow alley of lindens which leads from the gate on the street to the door of the house, there let us enter the antechamber, take the passage to the left and ascend the twenty stairs which lead to a study hung with green paper, and furnished with curtains, chairs, and sofas of the same color. The walls are covered with maps and plans of cities. Bookcases of maple are on either side of the fireplace, which they enclose; the chairs and sofas, the tables and desks are heaped with books; there is scarcely room on the seats to sit down, or to write at the desks and tables. “



The House on the Rue de la Victoire,” by Ira Grossman, The Napoleon Series.

L’hôtel Bonaparte,” by Bernard Chevalier.

Trailer on the Exposition: