Palais Castaire (pronounciation: [palɛ kastɛʁ]) is the premier residence and administrative headquarters of the Monarch of the Empire Castairien. Located in Ouestcour, Lucrécy, the palace is the centre of political life, state occasions and imperial hospitality as well as the focal point of Castairien People in times of national rejoicing and mourning.
Originally conceived as the new centerpiece of imperial power and splendour, the palace's erection started in 1730 and was finished in 1743. Due to the war with Cantoras going on between 1738 and 1742, the work was halted, with only minimal progress on the interior. With two expansive wings added to the original construction, it became the largest palace complex in the known world and serves as the official residence of the Sacrecouronne dynasty since 1743. The baroque building is recognized as the peak of esradonian palatial architecture und is often perceived as a symbol of absolute imperial power.
Given the results of aforementioned war being utterly lossy for both sides, and young prince Stéphane being engaged to princess Belle of Cantoras, they repurposed the building to be a remind for the eternal friendship of the two countries from then. Nowadays, the palace is the centre of the Empereurs power, both political and cultural.
- 1 History
- 2 Home of the Monarch
- 2.1 Interior
- 2.2 Court Ceremonies
- 2.3 Gardens and surroundings
- 3 Imagery and Costs
- 4 Persons
- 5 See also
The original residence of the Sacrecouronne dynasty was a castle located near Liramond, Chateau Avalanche. When the Empire was founded by Caestoire, several questions regarding the seat of monarchy arose. When Lucrécy was a mere village, the Sacrecouronnes settled there because of it’s strategic location nearly central in Castaire. They erected their castle next to the Violaine and moved their summer court to a small planned city named Favorite, located to the northwest of Lucrécy. When Favorite eventually became too small and crowded in the late 1650s, the court moved back to the city castle of Lucrécy.
The site of the palace at the time of the construction of the capital was just a wide and flat area comprising a single spacious hill at the western part of the conceived city area, with direct access to the Violaine river. While the area remained unused for quite some time, it was already planned to eventually become the site for the palace. Under the reign of Nathanaël II, the area was used to build the current palace.
Belonging to the Sacrecouronne dynasty by law, the land was often used for special occasions such as military parades and speeches to the people. In times of war, the site was sometimes also used as kitchen garden, where the people planted potatoes, beans and other vegetables to provide food. The more western located area which was grown over with trees and luscious forests was used as hunting place for the local nobility. There were also several small hunting lodges of different owners located at the area now occupied by the imperial gardens.
Around this time, new plans were conceived for a more representative residence of the imperial family. As Baroque was the current building style, the older renaissance city castle was regarded to be fitting no more. Several architects were ordered to create plans for an imposing palace area, complete with landscaping and gardens, to be the envy of the other nations. These plans would rest for another 70 years because of financial shortages and other governmental plans. When in 1720 Stéphane was born as the new heir to the throne, his father Nathanaël II decided to finally revive the idea of a new palace. He got the old plans revised and expanded, so the construction could start in 1730. The framing was finished in 1732, while the gardens and landscaping were finished until 1736. The whole exterior was completed in early 1735. When in 1738 the war with Cantoras broke out, the works were nearly halted, and the interior design was only partially built until 1743. A major cause to this was that the Imperial Vaults were running out of money due to the war.
Nathanaël II quickly turned to his friend, the Grand Duc de Gardelegen and arranged a marriage of his second son Michel to Marcus’ daughter Catherine. Gardelegen provided an enourmous dowry for their princess, enabling the construction to continue. Nathanaël himself was, due to a severe illness and his sudden death in 1742, unable to move into the palace and never lived in what some might consider his greatest memorial. The newlywed couple Stéphane and Belle moved into the palace as soon as of their wedding in 1742, making the palace the official residence of the Sacrecouronne family.
With the war finally over and the economy slowly recovering from the struggle, the works on the interior of the northern wing continued. Stéphane found the original plans of the late architect Sieur Gabriel Vaucquelin not sufficient to represent the imperial splendour, power and majesty of the Sacrecouronne dynasty. While the private rooms were decorated in a more modest and less ornamental style, the state and ceremonial rooms had different requirements. They were planned to leave the visitors in awe and have them recognize their inferior position in regard to the imperial crown.
So Stéphane opened a competition for a complete redesign of the interior of the northern palace, including rooms for diplomatic negotiations, council meetings etc. The drafts sent in by the architects surpassed each other in an astounding spiral, each architect trying to create the most magnificent palace on Æonis. In the end, the design by a rather unknown architect named Charles Maxwell Garnier won. His designs were different from the more conservative drafts of his opponents, but were favoured by the impeccable taste of the imperial couple. The construction of the state appartments started soon after in 1745 and was finished in 1750.
Home of the Monarch
When Stéphane and Belle moved into the newly constructed palace, it was decreed to be the principal imperial residence. Thus, it resembled the center of court politics, cultural and diplomatic endeavours throughout the Empire. The imperial couple and their three children lived in the southern wing of the wing of the palace, comprising their private appartments. Compared to the renaissance styled city castle, the new palace was a building of immense splendour. The state rooms were described as a “riot of gold and colour”, decorated with only the most expensive and precious materials.
The Throne Room
The most spectacular and breathtaking room is probably His Imperial Majesty’s Throne Room, located in the central corps de logis. As it is by far the biggest room of the palace, the corps de logis got a western extension specifically for the throne room. The actual throne hall is surrounded by a gallery, broken up just for the throne and the entrance. Also, there is a place for a small orchestra to play during state visits or other important events.
It is overly decorated with golden reliefs and ornaments, but the most stunning piece of it is for sure its glassy roof, consisting of several thousands of small glass pieces in different colours put together to form a grand masterpiece high above the heads of the supplicants. Caused by that, there is no need for a chandelier in the throne room as daylight incides from above all day.
Galerie des Glaces
The Grande Galerie connects the nothern and southern wing through the corps de logis and is thus the central hallway of the palace. Located behind the city facade of the palace, nearly all important rooms (like the library, the Empereurs study etc.) are directly accessed by it.
As of the excessive number of expensive furnishings made for the gallery it is said that it is (besides the throne room) one of the most expensive rooms of the palace.
The Orangerie is the indoor counterpart to the Orangerie in the imperial gardens. Similar to the throne room, it is adorned with a vaulted glass roof resembling the shape of flowers. The whole structure is supported by a highly ornate metal framework with gilded decorations. It features a gallery flanked by two spiraling staircases leading downwards to the ground floor. It is mainly used as an indoor garden for the imperialty to recreate. Sometimes, diplomatic meetings are also hosted there. It became involved in the events of Belles death in Neigouze 1754, when the mortally ill Impératrice was bedded there to be surrounded by her favourite flowers.
Grand Cour Nord
The grand courtyard of the northern once more showcases the brilliance of the imperial gardeners. Layed it in a very traditional fashion it consists of a fountain placed in the centre, surrounded by four identical flower beds. The fountain itself is decorated with an abundance of solid gold statues, further underlining the sheer wealth and power of the imperial family.
Vestibule des Ambassadeurs
As the name might suggest this is the room from which every ambassador enters the palace after stepping out of their carriage in the courtyard. Upon entering the vestibule one is greeted by two big statues seemingly supporting the vaulted ceiling above one's head.
Presentation of débutantes
Other ceremonies and functions
Gardens and surroundings
Orangery and Grand Orchard
Imagery and Costs
Palais Castaire was the birthplace of the following persons:
- Lukrezia, Princesse Impériale de Castaire (born 1743)
- Florian, Prince de Castaire (born 1745)
- Emilia, Princess de Castaire (born 1748)
Furthermore, the following persons died there:
- Belle, Impératrice de Castaire (died 1754)