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A „porcelain palace“ to rival any in Europe

Rastatt Favorite Palace

Gästeführerin von Schloss Favorite Rastatt; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert
The palace and its inhabitants

MILESTONEs

What kind of family were the Margraves of Baden-Baden? Why didn’t they live in Baden-Baden? And who liked living in Favorite Palace? Figures and stories carry visitors off into Rastatt Favorite Palace's past.

View of the main courtyard, Rastatt Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Sandra Eberle

Rastatt Residential Palace.

Two palaces in Rastatt

As beautiful as Favorite Palace was and is, it was just a pleasure palace, and as such, not the official residence of the Margraves of Baden-Baden. Rastatt Palace was their seat and residence. Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm had it built as the new residence in 1700, thus eclipsing Baden-Baden as the family's ancestral seat. The town of Baden-Baden, and its palace, had been destroyed in 1689. Now, a more modern palace was required: a Baroque palace, one that would best represent the absolutist ruler.

View of Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

An idyllic setting.

Favorite Palace: a place for celebrations

It was typical for Baroque sovereigns to own a pleasure palace in addition to their official residence. Thus, Sibylla Augusta, who ruled after her husband's death, soon began construction on one. Her son, Ludwig Georg, in particular, loved to hunt and spent much time here. Today, little is known about the raucous parties held at Favorite Palace. But the fact remains: The margraves loved this palace for several generations, perhaps because of its idyllic location and its proximity to Baden-Baden.

Portrait of Margrave Karl Friedrich von Baden-Durlach. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Margrave Karl Friedrich von Baden-Durlach.

The Margraves of Baden-Durlach

In 1771, something occurred which was long predicted: The Margraves of Baden-Baden were without any male heirs. Upon the death of August Georg, Ludwig Georg's younger brother, the estate passed to the Baden-Durlach line. Margrave Karl Friedrich von Baden, who ruled in Karlsruhe between 1738 and 1811, took ownership of both Rastatt palaces. Between 1788 and 1806, he had the garden at Favorite Palace redesigned; a design that still characterizes the grounds today.

Portrait of Stéphanie de Beauharnais. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Stéphanie de Beauharnais.

Karl and Stéphanie von Baden

Karl Friedrich’s grandson, Grand Duke Karl, ruled from 1811 to 1818. He and his wife, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s adoptive daughter, visited Favorite Palace often, despite the fact that the decor was long outdated. Numerous engravings prove that Favorite Palace remained a draw for royal and bourgeois visitors into the 19th century; and it remains one to this day.

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