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Yahoo Map of Chateau of Marly

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The Château of Marly was located in what has become Marly-le-Roi, the commune that existed at the edge of the royal park. The town that originally grew up to service the château is now a dormitory community for Paris.
At the Château of Marly, Louis XIV of France escaped from the formal rigors he had constructed at Versailles. The chateau is no more, the hydraulic "machine" that pumped water for Versailles is no more. Only the foundation of Jules Hardouin-Mansart's chateau remain at the top of the slope in Marly park. Small rooms meant fewer company, and simplified protocol, but courtiers fought so for invitations to Marly that guest houses were built in matching pairs flanking the central sheets of water that were fed one from the other by prim formalized cascades.
The works at Marly were begun in 1679. Louis XIV attended the opening of the completed hydraulic works in June 1684 [1] and by 1686 development was sufficiently advanced for Louis to stay there for the first time, with a picked entourage. The theme of Marly was that it was a simple hunting lodge, just enough to accomodate the Royal Hunt. In 1688 the Grand Abreuvoir à chevaux was installed on the terrace, a mere "horse trough." Louis continued to embellish the wooded park throughout the rest of his life, with wide rides, in which ladies or the infirm might follow the hunt, at some distance, in a carriage, and more profligate waterworks than waterless Versailles could provide: the Rivière or Grande Cascade dates to 697-98.

Marly's heyday ended with the death of Louis XIV. Louis' heirs found the north-facing slope at Marly damp and dreary, and rarely visited. The "river" was filled in and grassed in 1728. After the revolution the marble horses by Coustou, the Chevaux de Marly were transported to flank the opening of the Champs-Élysées. In 1799/1800, Marly was sold to an industrialist, Sagniel, who installed machinery to spin cotton thread. When the factory failed in 1806, the chateau was demolished and its building materials sold, even the lead of its roof. Napoleon bought back the estate the following year; the empty gardens and the surrounding woodland park still belong to the State.
At the end of the 19th century several connoisseurs purchased leases on the idividual garçonnières, cleaned up the overgrowth, recovered some bruised and broken statuary and recreated small gardens among the ruins: Alexandre Dumas fils and the playwright and collector of 18th-century furnishings Victorien Sardou.


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