One of the more popular palaces to visit around the Düsseldorf area is Schloß Benrath, otherwise known as The Pink Palace (for obvious reasons).
The front of the pink palace boasts a large man-made lake with beautifully textured bottom and a large gold ball in it’s center. Here, ducks and gueese have the pleasure of lazing around all day eating breadcrumbs from the hands of children eager to feed them.
Schloss Benrath was built as a maison de plaisance (French: “country house”) for Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz. Construction on the late Rococo period palace began in 1755, was completed in 1770, and includes some elements of Neoclassicism in the interior. Builder and garden supervisor Nicolas de Pigage created an amazing blend of buildings, interior decoration and garden work at Schloss Benrath, which has recently been proposed for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Four guard houses protect the property, while two evenly symmetrical wings flank the central corps de logis (French: main wing) which appears to have 2 floors on the exterior of the building, but really holds 4 floors within. Though the property was only sparsely used by its benefactor, mostly for purposes of relaxation and hunting, today it stands as a pillar of history and education. VIP guests such as Queen Elisabeth (in 1965) and Michail Gorbatschow (in 1988) have stayed in some of the guest rooms. The east wing housed a boy’s grammar school until 1982, and the Museum for European Garden Art was founded in this wing in 2002. The west wing now houses a museum of natural history, and apparently the upper floor of this wing still contains some residential-flats run by the town. Changing exhibitions and musical concerts are held in the main building today, which is only sparsely furnished.
Benrath’s beautiful gardens were situated on the Rhine, just south of Düsseldorf, bounding the property with the waters edge. The old kitchen gardens remain with herbs and vegetables, accompanying a rose garden, and a mix of English, French and Asian designed plots. A stroll trough the tall trees of the hunting grounds, or the perfectly planted blossoming areas, with curving paths and hidden ponds, brings an air of peace – as they must have for Elector Theodor when the palace was originally built. From the western side of the park there is direct access to the Rhine, so if finding the hidden ponds and brooks is not for you, perhaps a stroll down the riverside is.