Saint-Cloud is a pretty old city, known since the 6th century. A little priory was founded here: Clodoald, king of Orléans' son, lived here as a hermit and died here... so the place was called Saint-Clodoald, then Saint-Cloud!
Later, king Philip VI of Valois raised a big keep in order to protect the city. A big keep transformed by the Gondi lords, a great family from Florence who came in France with Catherine of Medici in 1543: they raised a brand new castle in 1578.
In 1655, the Lord High Treasurer Barthélémy Hervard owned the estate and extended the park, creating ponds and waterfalls for more than one thousands livres! Anyway, he welcomed king Louis XIV and his brother in 1658: the castle impressed Louis, who bought it for his bro, Monsieur! It cost 50 000 crowns…
Monsieur (Philip d’Orléans) bought all the neighbor lands and re-raised the castle. Le Nôtre laid out vast gardens, Mignard fit out apartments. So he completely abandoned Versailles and spent his time in Saint-Cloud… Monsieur (Philippe d’Orléans, his real name), was Louis XIV’s brother.
He was very… gay! Do you remember? His mum dressed him up as a little girl with the little François de Choisy (the future transvestite abbot)...
Anyway, amazing parties took places here: oh, especially the one in 1721, where the Regent, the fat Philippe d’Orléans (Monsieur’s son) came with his new mistress (ouch, one more!): delicate supper, music, gardens’ illumination at 10PM with Chinese lantern everywhere in trees. Whoa, just imagine, cascades became iridescent! At midnight, there was a big firework upon the water.
A period witness said that a part of the park seemed to be on fire; all the cities of Saint-Cloud, Passy, Auteuil and Boulogne were full of carriages decorated with torches, looking like thousand of stars in the dark night… An amazing cortege of carriages who made big damages.
So, after this riotous night, local peasants arrived and reported on the deterioration, outside! In the reign of Louis XV, they abandoned the castle, but in the gardens, they made splendid parties, with water jousts, fireworks, waterfalls and people dressed up as nymphs and shepherds.