Having visited Chateau Fontainbleu, I was interested in viewing Napoleon's country home with first wife, Josephine, where he was reputed to be very happy. The contrast between the formal splendor of Fontainbleu and the casual country charm of MalMaison is remarkable. But poor Josephine would be appalled at the state of her beloved rose garden, the shabby state of the gardens in general, and the rudeness of the blond in the gift shop who sells the tickets. After several problems with reaching Malmaison, I had only 2 hours to visit the chateau and grounds (according to their own website hours), however the officious woman at the gift shop who sells the tickets informed me I had only 1 hour to tour the chateau. When I reached the entrance across the park, and asked for the audiotour, the kindly security guard told me they were given out by the woman in the gift shop. So, back I trudged across the park to ask for the audio tour. With wallet in hand I enquired how much more for the audio guide, only to be told it was free with the entry ticket - she had just decided I didn't have enough time to listen to the guide so chose not to give one to me! After posting my ID for security, I was with great reluctance given the audioguide, but this woman who claimed to understand only French (but had no problem with English when she wished to express a point). Needless to say there was no problem completing the tour, with audio within the time allotted and I was out of the chateau well before other visitors. Madame insisted the website was wrong - and the hours showing open until 5:45PM after April 1st was the problem of the national monuments organization. Seemed to me she was just lazy and wanted to go home early. I also didn't appreciate the young guard who entered the dining room to turn off the chandelier while I was standing there at 4:15PM. If I were the French National organization that manages this historic property, I would do a serious review of the staff and make some changes as the current staff seems very put out at being disturbed by visitors who come to visit!
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