Throughout the 19th century, European royalty built extraordinary palaces to which they retreated from their "official" lives in St. Petersburg, Paris, Vienna, and elsewhere. This book offers a panorama of these fantastic estates, where leading architects, craftsmen, muralists, garden designers, and naturalists were employed at enormous expense to create a life of unsurpassed luxury. Many of the palaces are now legendary: Ludwig II's famous Neuschwanstein, which dominates the Bavarian Alps; the "Alexandra Cottage" of Peterhof, the gift of Nicholas I to his wife; the lovely Castle of Miramare built for the ill-fated Archduke Maximilian, the short-lived emperor of Mexico. The palaces are "romantic" in every sense, as creations of their time, and as places suffused with nostalgic memory.
Author Jérôme Coignard provides a brief overview of each royal family and their palace's architecture and decoration, drawing on contemporary memoirs and letters. Marc Walter's color photographs are accompanied by period interior views, watercolors, and family photographs. With information on visiting hours and directions to each of the palaces, this book offers a private tour through the last courts of Europe. AUTHOR BIO: Jérôme Coignard is a novelist, essayist, and contributor to numerous French magazines. Marc Walter is a photographer and graphic designer whose most recent books include Voyages around the World and Toile de Jouy. Markus of Habsburg-Lorraine, an Austrian archduke, is the current resident of Kaiser-villa in Bad-Ischl, built for his ancestor, the emperor Franz-Joseph I, in 1834.