The Monplaisir Palace in Peterhof

Address: 198903, St. Petersburg, Petrodvorets, Ulitsa Razvodnaya, 2 Hours of operation: Daily 11am - 5pm (Palace closed Mondays) Web:

The Palace of Monplaisir ("my pleasure" in French) stands out as the only palace of Peter the Great that retains its original 18th century character. Unlike other summer palaces which underwent multiple redesigns to suit changing fashions of the time, Monplaisir Palace has remained largely unchanged and offers a rare glimpse into the life of the Russian Court of Petrian age.

The Palace was designed by Peter the Great himself who made a sketch of its plan and supervised its decoration. Later it would become Peter's most favourite palace - he preferred to stay here rather at the Grand Palace when on a visit to Peterhof.

Monplaisir is also known as the first art gallery in Russia. Peter ammased many paintings which he acquired during his European travels and he chose the Monplaisir Palace to put them on display. The Palace is richly decorated with oakwood carvings, gilt and lacquered panels characteristic of Peter's times, and houses Peter's original furniture.

Monplaisir is surrounded by gardens with many fountains and sculptures decorating the grounds. Peter the Great liked playing jokes on his friends and had several trick fountains installed around the Monplaisir Palace. Usually inactive, these fountains would suddenly start working when a non-suspecting visitor would activate a hidden trigger.

A must see for history buffs and families with kids!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Grand Palace of Peterhof is very similar to the Catherine's Palace in Pushkin. Both were redesigned to the tastes of Catherine the Great and have almost identical interiors.

If visiting Catherine's Palace is on your list, a visit to The Monplaisir Palace is highly recommended and indeed preferred by seasoned travelers. This way you will be able to see royal residences of both Peter the Great and Catherine the Great rather than two of Catherine's twin palaces.

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