You may have realized that I'm still catching up on my posts while Barbara was here. She went home on Monday, delayed a bit by ash clouds, but finally arrived safely on an uneventful flight. Meantime, I'm just enjoying my neighborhood exploration, finding all the little streets and corners I remember from past visits and checking out the stores old and new.
So back to last Saturday and our trip to Vaux le Vicomte, un chateau spectaculaire built by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's Minister of Finance. We took the local train from Gare de Lyon to Melun, about a 25 minute ride. Just as the guidebooks said, we discovered there was not much going on in the town, and on a Saturday, it was hard to find a place open for lunch. We ended up at what was kind of a Turkish sub shop, but had tasty kebobs and a sample of their baklava, thanks to a sweet, young waitress. Then we hopped on the Chateau bus for another short ride to the 82 acre site. I can't say what was my favorite: the rooms designed for Fouquet himself or those designed for King Louis, the climb up steep stairs through the roof structure or the view once you reached the outside of the dome. Then there was the garden, or series of many different gardens, each leading you further and further from the chateau toward a massive sculpture of Hercules. Oh did I mention the canal, hidden from view until you came upon it, that forced a perpendicular side trip, adding steps and challenge to actually reaching the monument. And we thought we walked a lot yesterday! We stayed late for the special candlelight evening, duplicating a bit of what it was like the night of August 17th, 1661, and the party for King Louis which began the unfortunate and unfair downfall of Nicolas Fouquet. What a special visit this was; thanks for your recommendation Marcia. Afterwards folks at the Chateau called a cab for us and we crossed our fingers each time the cab's motor died, just hoping to make it back to the train station. We did and caught the next train back to Paris. Photos here.