Charles Leopold van Grevenbroeck, Arrival of King Louis XV at La Muette Castle in 1738. Painting. Musée Carnavalet.
If only every day could be as lovely as this! Grevenbroeck painted this scene of Louis XV arriving at one of his favorite hunting lodges, La Muette Castle. The building has an interesting little history. It was built by Charles IX. This is not surprising, Charles was infatuated with the sport, and devoted a good portion of time to publishing a book on hunting. His work is called La Chasse Royal, published in 1625, a copy of which can be found at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The king would reside at the castle for the full hunting season.
La Muette Castle was not often frequented for the next three reigns in France, until Louis XIII took the throne. He too appreciated the home for its hunting grounds and location. Louis XIII was said to be addicted to hunting and hawking, participating in the sports quite often. His mother, Marie de Medici was responsible for his favorite pastimes...she had introduced a sportsman to the court, by the name of Luynes. Luynes introduced a new pastime to the the young king, indoor hawking! If the weather was poor, the king could hawk small birds within the indoor galleries. I wonder if he ended up reading his predecessors book?
The reign of Louis XV proved the most beneficial for the castle, when the Regent Duc d'Orleans was in charge of the country he made considerable improvements on the building, and his sister the duchesse de Berri would find it a comfortable spot to stay. When Louis XV was old enough to appreciate sport and travel, he put some money into the castle. He modernized it so it could better be inhabited by the court and himself.
When her family was forced to move to the Tuileries from Versailles, Marie Antoinette spent a night at this castle, while the other was prepared. Another fun fact about the La Muette Castle, is that the first hot air balloon ascent occurred there!