We have arrived at last! Actually, we arrived yesterday evening, but the WiFi is not always reliable here. We journeyed from Amsterdam to Paris on a high speed train; which was probably lovely, but we all fell asleep and missed much of the countryside. We arrived in Paris at the Gare du Nord; one of the older train stations, with lovely Art Deco architecture, then took the now traditional harrowing taxi adventure through Paris to Orly Airport in the south of Paris, where we met up the Jean-Pierre and Paule Barbier, my aunt and uncle who had been patiently awaiting our long delayed arrival. BTW, I suspect that I overpaid the cab driver, who both profusely thanked and kissed me...perhaps he was simply happy to have us out of his taxi.
Seine Port is a lovely village to the south of Paris; on the Seine river and the Barbier's home here is 247 years old and simply wonderful. We have been quite spoiled as Paule is a marvelous cook and Jean Pierre is a wine conniseure who is enjoying share the bottles he has stored in chalk caves under the house. To celebrate our arrival, he opening a lovely, well aged Dom Perignon...
Today we toured Vaux le Viconte, a chateau near hear. We ran into the current conte, who is apparently quite charming and frankly looked like one of the groundskeepers... The Chateau by built by Nicolas Fouquet, a finance minister for Louis XIV, who took one look at the place and had Fouquet arrested, then used his Architect, painter and landscape designer to design Versailles. It is thought that Fouquet is perhaps the face behind the story of the man with the iron mask.
I have to say, after spending over 30 hours awake with only a quick train nap we were glad to arrive in the quiet and picturesque town of Seine Port where Paule and Jean-Pierre live. Their home is quite old and full of quirks, stone walls, tons of art - some of which Paule painted herself and stone tile floors just like the chateau Vaux Le Viconte we visited today! We had a lovely home cooked, local chicken for dinner and fresh squeezed OJ with toast for breakfast. Quite spoiled indeed. They have 3 fluffy indoor/outdoor garden kitties that aren't so sure of our presence yet. My goal is of course to pet one... The weather is glorious! Its low-mid 60s but it feels like 75, I can't wait until Summer :-) Planning for a big dinner tonight to gear up for Fontainebleau, another chateau, tomorrow.
My experience was much the same as Barbara and Whitney's