PARIS (Reuters) - About 15 rare pieces of art were stolen on Sunday morning in the Chinese Museum of the Chateau de Fontainebleau, southeast of Paris, the French culture ministry said.
These included a crown of the King of Siam, given to Emperor Napoleon III during the king's official visit to France in 1861 and a Chinese chimera in cloisonné enamel from the reign of Quianlong (1736-1795), it said in a statement.
The stolen artifacts came from China and Siam, known as Thailand today, and were collected by Empress Eugenie, Napoleon's wife. She had them placed in her museum, which was created in 1863.
The ministry said the burglary, which happened in one of the most secure parts of the castle, took only seven minutes and that an investigation had been launched.
The Chateau de Fontainebleau was the residence of French monarchs from Louis VII through Napoleon III and is now a national museum.
Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky