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article | Reading time5 min

The children's dining room

vue de la salle à manger des enfants et de la table dressée

Immerse yourself in the daily life of a 19th-century bourgeois family! The wall decor remains that of the 18th century, when the room was... Mme de Pompadour's bathroom!

A bathroom transformed!

A decor for Mme de Pompadour

Today's children's dining room was once Madame de Pompadour 's bathroom!

From July 1757 to December 1758, she rented the château from its owner, the Duc de la Vallière . On the verge of acquiring the property, in the early autumn of 1758, she commissioned Louis XV's architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel (1698-1782), to modernize the château's bathroom. The walls were adorned with colored stucco imitating marble, and the floor tiled to prevent excessive humidity and facilitate maintenance. 

Finally, the beautiful marquise changed her mind and left Champs on January 1, 1759.

The room's function has since changed, but its decor is still there!

Portrait de femme dit de Mme de Pompadour
Portrait of a woman in a jardinière, formerly identified as a portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour, attributed to Drouais. Circa 1750.

François Pons / Centre des monuments nationaux

The Château de Champs-sur-Marne, a family home

Big on one side, small on the other!

When Louis and Louise Cahen d'Anvers bought the château in 1895, their five children, aged between 16 and 24, were no longer toddlers. This dining room, which was reserved exclusively for them, served the family's grandchildren !

Indeed, in the 19th century, it was customary among the upper middle classes for children to have their meals away from adults. Nor did they live on the same floor as their parents. At the château de Champs-sur-Marne, their "apartments" were located on the second floor, and included bedrooms, bathrooms with running water, and a study room. 

Never alone, never alone! Until they reach adolescence, children are surrounded by staff. Up to the age of 3 or 4, and sometimes longer, they are looked after by nannies, and then by governesses, many of them English. At the age of reason, around 7, they are also looked after by preceptors, music, singing and drawing teachers. In short, the children benefit from all the teaching that will build an educated man or woman of good society!

Most of these staff are housed on site in rooms on the second floor, not far from the children's apartments.

Photographie de Louise Cahen d'Anvers tenant contre elle Robert enfant
Louise Cahen d'Anvers and Robert

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Behind the scenes

The service corridor

The pantry corridor, next to the children's dining room, is reserved for the circulation of servants, particularly at mealtimes. It provides access to the kitchens and to the children's and adults' dining rooms.

A curiosity! Rediscovered behind a cupboard during work carried out in 2007, the electrified call board installed in this corridor at the end of the 19th century replaces the old system of bells which indicated to the servant in which room he was required.

Couloir des offices, buffets et tableau d'appel des domestiques
Galley corridor

Patrick Cadet / Centre des monuments nationaux

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