Friday, June 28, 2013

Paris, Je t'aime 2: Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

Day 2 in Paris 
Did you know that this smaller baroque style french mansion inspired the more famous, much grander Château de Versailles? 

The Story...
The chateau was constructed for Nicholas Fouquet, the finance minister of King Louis XIV, by three very talented men - legendary landscape architect Andre Le Nôtre, architect Louis Le Vau and the painter Charles Le Brun. These three men did such an amazing job at building this masterpiece, where Fouquet often threw the most lavish parties, that Louis XIV became immensely jealous he had Nicholas Fouquet arrested and exiled for embezzlement. Driven by his envy and his desire not to be outshined by anyone, he then brought together the very same team to build Versailles on a much grander scale to the southwest of Paris. 

Spotted: dad, hubby and the rest of our Dutch tour group
Best not to lose sight of your tour group when you travel in a foreign country
As you can see, it was a very sunny and hot day. Unfortunately when we were there last July 2012, there was an ugly construction scaffolding set up to repair the roof of the dome with new slates that ruined the otherwise picturesque view.

This landscape and architectural gem is slightly off the beaten track and lies about 55 km on the outskirts of Paris to the southeast, opposite of Versailles, roughly about an hour away depending on traffic. Château Vaux-le-Vicomte may be less 'touristy', less busy than Versailles but is more intimate and as equally impressive. It is truly the perfect example of French elegance and opulence. 

 a peek outside at the gardens and the moat surrounding the chateau
This outstanding chateau is surrounded by a wide moat. Be prepared to spend 3 hours to see every part of the estate and wear comfortable walking shoes.

17th Century carriage

Zee man with no face et zee lady in black polka dot (me)

Let's have a look inside this beautiful chateau, shall we?

tastefully rich and luxurious decor in the inner mansion rooms

I can imagine spending hours reading books in a library like this.
My best favorite spot in the whole chateau.

Angels watching over you

There are plenty of rooms inside the chateau such as this that just simply ooze of  elegance and opulence.

Zee bedroom
where Nicholas got kinky at night?

and zee toilettes
I pity the servants who had to clean this afterwards. 
Thank goodness for modern toilets.

Sit like a queen, not like a frog.

There's something about this dining room that oddly creeps me out.  
Maybe it's the animation playing on the wall 
that slightly reminds me of ghosts from old past.

zee less formal dining room
zis is more my style, not creepy at all and very French country

So will it be Coq Au Vin or Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner tonight ?

Zee wine cellar. 
The dark door at the end of zee cellar scares me.
 My imagination runs wild with images of Samara coming out of the tv set in The Ring.

Hall of the past conquerors of France

Jardin a la Francaise 
Born into a family of gardeners, Andre Le Nôtre is the very same genius behind the design and construction of the other gardens and parks at the Palace of Versailles and Fountainbleau, noted for French formal gardens with symmetrical designs, gravel walk paths and pools in between.

Elegant, grand and well maintained grounds

zee dutch man with zee half eaten bread for lunch

(You can take zee dutch man out of zee Netherlands 
but you cannot take zee Netherlands out of him.)
mmm now I wonder where my dad went off to...

I read that there are limited tours/programs offered for a very romantic candlelight dinner with fireworks at this beautiful chateau for a unique and unforgettable experience.

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte is truly worth the trip for a great combination of history, outstanding French style architecture, decor and gardens without the horde of tourists at Versailles.

For admission prices, hours and how to get there: