Though the weather last week had been cold, dreary, and oddly winter-like, the weekend weather was fall perfection. Clear blue skies, crisp air - perfect Parisian scarf weather. Or day trip weather, depending on your priorities.
Fontainebleau is about 35 miles southeast of Paris. The chateau was used by French kings dating back to the 12th century, though most of today's buildings were constructed under the rule of Francis I in the early 16th century. I had wondered if after our first few months here we were chateau-ed out, but in fact we were quite happy to be back on the chateau circuit.
|"Yes, folks, on today's tour I'll be guiding you through the 800 year old palace of Fontainebleau!"|
Napoleon, having eschewed Versailles for being too reminiscent of pre-Revolution royal extravagances, brought Fontainebleau back to life in the first years of the 19th century. And yes, I'm being ironic about Napoleon since having now visited, I can confidently say that Fontainebleau is equally as lavish and luxurious as its brother palace on the southwestern side of Paris.
|Good call, Napoleon. This is way more low-key than Versailles.|
One important lesson for me was that no matter how beautiful the chateau, your enjoyment can be curtailed if your 21-month-old decides he only wants to be carried through the chateau - and only carried by you, the 5-months-plus-pregnant mommy. Surprisingly - or not - he recovered when it came time to eat pommes frites for lunch. Pommes frites totally sounds healthier and more legit than French fries. Plus, of course, nobody in France considers them French fries. Which reminds me of my ongoing question about French doors - you know, the elongated window doors that we call "French doors"? What do the French call them? It turns out a British friend of mine once mentioned something about their French doors to her French husband, who responded, "French doors? If we were in England, would they be English doors?" So apparently, like pommes frites, they are just called windows (or is it doors?).
|The backyard of the chateau. We had family naptime in the sunny section on the right.|
Even the disgustingly terrible traffic we hit upon re-entering Paris could not sway us from our total enjoyment of this delightful day. If anything, the day has us seriously considering purchasing a car so that we can better escape the city and explore what the greater Paris region has to offer.