Monplaisir Palace

Monplaisir - On the east side of the Lower Park in Peterhof a high rectangular artificial terrace fortified with granite juts out into the sea. Along its ridge runs a white stone balustrade behind which stands a single-story brick building with a high, multi-tiered roof. The central building is flanked by two galleries that end in pavilions. The north walls of the galleries have narrow windows alternating with semicircular niches that emphasize the thickness of the walls battered by the north wind. From the south the galleries resemble a light arcade with streams of light flowing through the glass doors and windows.

Monplaisir, a summer-house in the Dutch style, also built in the reign of Peter, whose bed, dressing-room, night-cap and slippers are exhibited in it.

Russian Pictures. Thomas Mitchell, 1867

On this side there is an attractive garden with flower-beds and fountains. Nearby are the Bathing Pools and Steam Baths, the Assembly Hall with servants’ rooms and a large building known as the Catherine Palace.

The whole of this ensemble, that took shape for the most part in the mid-18th century, is called Monplaisir, which is French for “my pleasure”. The name really belongs to the small palace of which Peter the Great was so fond, one of the first buildings in Peterhof. Peter chose its site himself and drew up the plans for it.

Peter the First was greatly attached to the delightful scenery of the palace at Peterhoff, and he erected a summer-house close adjoining to the Gulf of Finland, which he called "Monplaisir," by which name it is still known. This neat and modest habitation, for a mighty monarch, is formed of brick, with an iron roof: it consists of six rooms, with an entrance hall. The bed-chamber is only decorated with a few representations of that prince in the lowly character in which he appeared, when he worked as a common carpenter at Saardam.

The Russian Empire, C. Hunter, 1817

And wherever the Emperor happened to be, even it was visiting abroad, he sent detailed instructions for the décor of the Monplaisir palace interiors. The building and interior decoration was supervised by Johann Friedrich Braunstein.

It was at Marly that Peter the Great liked to observe his nascent fleet docked in Kronstadt. It was in Montplaisir, the summer residence built in the style of Dutch houses, that Empress Elisabeth loved to spend her leisure time, and sometimes engage in activities, such as cooking; and it was in this humble abode that Peter the Great drew his last breath. His bed is still preserved and has not been touched since his death.

St Petersburg Guide, Jean Bastin, 1874

Construction of the palace began on May 17, 1714. Two years later its central section was completed, and by August 1723, when the first large-scale celebrations were held in Peterhof, Monplaisir was completely finished.

In a solitary wood stands the neat summer-house called, "Mon Plaisir," because the Empress Elizabeth used sometimes to retire to it from the cares of government, and innocently amuse herself by cooking her own dinner!

Travels In Russia, George Jones, 1865

In Peter’s lifetime the palace was used for small receptions, dinners or suppers of an intimate nature. On August 15, 1725 Catherine I held an official reception in Monplaisir in honor of the members of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences founded in 1724.

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург) is the second largest city in Russia. It is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. St Petersburg is often described as the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital.It is the northernmost city in the world with a population of over one million.

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