RAMBOUILLET, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Seine-et-Oise, 30 m. S.W. of Paris on the railway to Chartres. Pop. (1906) town, 3965; commune, 6165.6165. Rambouillet derives its whole interest from the associations connected with the ancient château, dating originally from the 14th century, but often rebuilt. A great machicolated tower is all that remains of the medieval building; some apartments with good woodwork are also of interest. The château is surrounded by a beautiful park of 3000 acres and by an extensive forest. The gardens, partly in French, partly in English style, are picturesque, and have an avenue of Louisiana cypress unique in Europe. The park contains the national sheep-farm, where in the 18th century the first flock of merino sheep in France was raised, a school of sheep-farming, and, close to the latter, a small dairy built by Louis XVI. The shooting of the famous coverts of Rambouillet is reserved for the presidents of the Republic. The town is the seat of a;ub-prefect and has a tribunal of first instance and a preparatory infantry school. Trade is in grain, wool, flour and wood. Watchsprings are manufactured.
Originally a royal domain, the lands of Rambouillet passed in the 14th century to the D'Angennes family, who held them for three hundred years and built the château. Francis I. died there in 1547; and Charles IX. and Catherine de Medicis found a refuge there in the Wars of Religion, as Henry III. did after them. The title became a marquisate in 1612, at which time it was held by Charles d'Angennes, husband of Catherine de Vivonne, the famous marchioness of Rambouillet. Created a duchy and peerage in favour of the duke of Toulouse, son of Louis XIV., Rambouillet was subsequently bought and embellished by Louis XVI., who erected a model farm and other buildings. The place was a hunting-seat of Napoleon I. and Charles X., and it was here that in 1830 the latter signed his abdication.
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