Today is my last day in Paris. I decided to take a trip to Domaines de Saint-Cloud, which is a large park on the outskirts of the city, and a place I had never heard of until reading these historical letters. It turns out that the park is located on the site of the former Château de Saint-Cloud, which was built on a site overlooking the Seine at Saint-Cloud, 5 km west of Paris. According to Wikipedia, the château was expanded by Phillipe of France, Duke of Orléans in the 17th century, and finally enlarged by Marie Antoinette in the 1780s. After occupation by Napoleon I and Napoleon III, the château was destroyed in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. So the Château is no longer there, but the gardens and fountains are, and I was curious to see them.
Here is an excerpt from Calvin Jones in a letter he wrote home to his son, Paul Tudor:
"We have also been to St. Cloud, Bonaparts (sic) favorite residence, and a glorious place it is. Here it was he drove the council of 500 out of the windows. We went through all the private apartments of the palace, but we were ushered through in haste as the King was to dine there. Sis took time to examine the Queens bed, drew the curtains and lifted up the bedding. The gardens and everything here is delightful, certainly the most pleasant of any of the Royal palaces."
The park and gardens didn't disappoint. It was a surreal, magical and quiet place. There were absolutely no tourists, only an occasional jogger or dog walker. The fountains were amazing, and they work on the same principle as the ones at Versailles: all the water gets pumped via gravity. Apparently, they turn the fountains on on Sundays during the summer. I wish I could have seen them in action.