Last week we went on a tour of the Residenz – the magnificent palace and seat of government for the Bavarian Wittelsbach rulers. On our last afternoon in Munich, we decided to check out their summer residence, the Nymphenburg Palace, which proved to be every bit as palatial as their inner city headquarters!
The Nymphenburg Palace was founded to celebrate the birth of an heir to the Bavarian throne in 1662. Max Emanuel came along some 10 years or so after the marriage of his parents, Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife Henriette Adelaide of Savoy and his birth was a cause for great jubilation at court. Construction began in 1664 according to the plans of north Italian architect, Agostino Barelli, and as so often happens with royal residences subsequent rulers expanded and added to the original designs to create the magnificent complex of buildings and gardens one can see today. Back in the 17th century the palace would have been well out in the country but nowadays with the growth of Munich as a city, it is a 15 minutes journey west from central Munich via public transport (S Bahn to Laim then bus to Schloss Nymphenburg or U Bahn to Rotkreuzplatz and tram to the Schloss). The walk up the street and along the little canal gives you an idea of the grand scale of the buildings and grounds.
There are a number of buildings including the Marstallmuseum (museum of carriages and sleighs in the former royal stables) and the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain, which are generally open to the public but it appeared that there was some sort of private function taking place on the afternoon of our visit and some of the complex was off limits. Details of the various admission times to the palace buildings, museums and grounds can be found here. Since we hadn’t a lot of time left, we were quite happy to wander round the gorgeous grounds with their displays of spring flowers and relax in the beautiful surroundings.
We stopped for refreshments at the Schlosscafe Im Palmenhaus and enjoyed some iced coffees and chocolate in the beautiful garden setting there. There was an extensive selection of cakes and tortes on offer though we decided to save ourselves for a hearty Bavarian dinner later on!
After drinks we took a stroll round the landscaped park along the central canal where you can take a gondola ride during the warmer months from April to October (though again we didn’t see any gondolas on the day we were there). Some of the grounds were forested and less manicured and we came across the pretty Amalienburg hunting lodge amongst the trees.
You may remember the marvellous Rococo style François Cuvilliés-Theater from last week’s post. Its creator François Cuvilliés the Elder also designed the elaborate Amalienburg. It was built by Elector Karl Albrecht (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII) for his wife Maria Amalia of Austria between 1734 and 1739 and is another example of ornate Rococo design. We had to peer through the windows to see anything but there were the unmistakable sparkling chandeliers, intricate decor and a beautiful central “Hall Of Mirrors” – a sort of miniature Versailles!
Leaving the palace grounds we wandered back to the main road to catch a tram back into town but were sidetracked by the wonderful selection of flavours at the local gelati shop. Judging by the number of people there, it’s a hugely popular local haunt. We took our gelati back to the canal to enjoy them overlooking the water with a view of Nymphenburg in the distance.
For more beautiful walks around the world join Restless Jo on her Monday Walk!
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