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One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Versailles palace as a model for luxury. Image: Wikipedia, public
To see and buy new things

Travels to Paris

Paris and the royal palace at Versailles were considered the center of good taste across all of Europe. Those who could afford it, acquired luxury goods from Paris with which to decorate their own palaces. Duke Carl Eugen's interest in sightseeing and shopping took him to Paris five times.

Watercolor of the Palais Royal, after 1780. Image: Wikipedia, public

The royal palace in the 18th century.

Ducal sightseeing

Carl Eugen traveled to Paris for the first time in 1748 together with his new wife, Elisabeth Friederike von Brandenburg-Bayreuth. Over the course of his life, he visited the city four more times, accompanied by his companion, Franziska von Hohenheim. Their visits always included a busy schedule of sightseeing. Sights, military installations, and especially bookstores were of great interest to Carl Eugen. In the evenings, one would meet at the Palais Royal, the promenade and leisure spot in Paris, or attended the theater.

Writing cabinet from Paris, circa 1770/75. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ralf Cohen

Writing cabinet by René Dubois in Carl Eugen's apartment.

Motivation to furnish

Carl Eugen found inspiration for decorating Württemberg's palaces on his many visits and business dealings. The silver dishes, cloth, porcelain and furniture from the city of French kings all seemed more luxurious and grand. He purchased many pieces for his Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. The fact that Carl Eugen toured workshops, such as the famous Gobelins Factory, demonstrates his interest in the products, as well as the manufacturing process itself.

The traveling duke

The duke recorded his last three trips to Paris vividly in his personal diaries. He named destinations, described daily schedules and listed detailed information about his overnight stays and purchases. In February 1787, the duke traveled to Paris and wrote: "I did not want to spend my birthday in Stuttgart, my shaky health required a change of air, and I also wanted to see something new in architecture and especially in decor and furnishing, all of which led me to the decision to undertake a three-week trip. I consulted with my dear wife, the duchess, and we soon decided that Paris was the best place to go."

Map of Paris from 1770. Image: Nicolai collection

Even in 1770, Paris was a metropolis; this map shows the downtown districts and their neighboring suburbs.

Portrait of Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg, circa 1760. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

The duke as a statesman and sophisticate.

An agent for his business

During his stay in Paris, Duke Carl Eugen became acquainted with the banker, Etienne Sollicoffre. Even after his departure, the duke maintained a lively correspondence with him. While Carl Eugen could not travel to Paris himself every year, he remained well informed as a result of his acquaintance with this banker. As of 1776, Sollicoffre acted as the duke's agent in Paris and repeatedly oversaw his purchases.