It’s been a busy week. After a quiet day at the house, we decided the next day to do a day trip to Versailles. The drive wasn’t bad, about 2 hours, but when we got there the crowd waiting to get in was in a snake line that had at least 7 100 foot segments, so it took us 1hour 45 minutes to make it to thesecurity checkpoint! And it was hot sun and about 90 degrees! Note to self – never go to Versailles on Tuesday because they are closed on Monday so EVRERYBODY goes on Tuesday! That meant that every room was packed with sweaty, irritated people, all pushing to get up to the ropes to take pictures. So, while the Chateau is beautiful, and each time I’ve seen it, it seems there is more interesting furniture and stuff to see, this was not a pleasant experience!
The next day was a quiet day at the house, and we went to a local market. We didn’t get there until just before they were closing so it wasn’t the market experience I would have liked for Kiera, Ken (my son-in-law) and his friend Kirk.
One of the things that we have been trying to do is see different places than we’ve been before. This is the fourth trip to France that Summer and Cici and I have made together. So one chateau none of us had seen was Fountainbleau. It is about the same distance from the house as Versailles, but we all agreed it was our favorite chateau. There are a large number of rooms open to the public, and all are furnished with pieces from the Napoleonic period. Most of the chateaux were stripped of their furniture during the Revolution in the 1790s. But Fountainbleau was a place that Napoleon I spent a lot of time and his furniture remains in the chateau. It also had far fewer visitors than Versailles, so we were able to go the rooms more slowly and really enjoy the experience!
We had one exciting experience getting there We named the GPS Georgette. Georette likes to take us on the smaller roads and through towns with very narrow streets! Sometimes we have to ignore her advice because she can’t tell a one way street from a two way. That day she had us going down a one way street that had room for only one car at a time! We somehow made it through with no damage to the car, but lots of dirty looks from the French drivers! My car has pink license plates on it – everyone else has white – I think that is to let the French know it’s a foreigner driving!
On Saurday, Ken, Kirk and Kiera (that’s alliteration!) left to go to Paris to watch the last day of the Tour de France. (That was Ken’s main motivation for coming!) So, Cici, Summer and I went to the Burgandy wine country. It was about a 4 hour drive, but we had planned to spend the night. We stayed in Beaune (pronounced BONE). Hotel rooms were not great, but the restaurant there was lovely. So we had a great French dinner and were able to get to bed early and get up the next day. We took a tour of the Patriarche wine cellars, which started out as an old convent, but was purchased by the Patriarche family in 1780. Today, their cellars cover 5 km under the city of Beaune, and store 3 million bottles of wine! There was wine tasting involved, and wine purchased! Then an afternoon drive back. On the way down, I had noticed a town up on a hill. Summer figured out the name of the town, and we decided to stop on the way back. It turned out that there was a mideval festival in full costume going on there So, it was an unexpected event but lots of fun.
Today, Summer left to return to the US. So, now it is very quiet – just Cici and me. But what a wonderful four weeks it has been!