Our Barge, Odysseus

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chateau de Fontainbleau

France is known for the great chateaus; Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte,Chenonceau, but we would be passing within an easy bike ride of Chateau de Fontainbleau and it's magnificent forest so we really had to stop. One of the side benefits of that would be the stop - Moret sur Loing, another impossibly picturesque town.

Wednesday was the designated chateau visit day. Since we only carry two bikes, we visited the tourist office in Moret and they were very helpful in arranging a rental bicycle for the day, even having it delivered to the tourist office for Tim to pick up on Tuesday afternoon. The weather forecast called for "a shower or two" but it looked pretty good in the morning; plenty of clouds but lots of sun as well. It took about an hour to make it through the maze of forest trails to the Chateau.

The forest path.

And I must say we looked like a pretty sporty group.

My bike is holding the camera.

When we got to the chateau it was pretty gray so I didn't take any garden pictures but I did get a shot of one wing of the chateau.

The first mention of the chateau is in the 12th century but little remains of the medieval castle. The real construction of the palace began with the reign of Francois I in the 16th century. King, emperors and Consuls have been tearing down and building parts of the chateau ever since. It now has over 1500 rooms under over 20,000 square meters of roof surrounded by formal gardens that cover about 35 hectares and the 84 hectare park (a hectare is about 2 1/2 acres).

We followed the self-guided tour of the interior until, as Cathy Jo said, we were suffering from "gilt overload." Example -

I believe this was Marie Antoinette's bed.

By the time we finished the tour, it had begun to rain. There are no garden pictures. There are also no pictures of the muddy, soaked bike riders that returned to the boat after the trip through the forest. But it will make a great story later on if we all don't catch pneumonia!

We'd be staying in Moret for another day, leaving Friday morning, so there was still plenty oftime to visit the town.

1 comment:

jo1955mar@aol.com said...

Hello Don and Cathy:
You are right, you cannot pass up an opportunity to visit Fontainbleau. With that size one could spend more time, but in small bites.
Well, I'm sorry to say Jo is not traveling. I plan to be in Europe in early September and I would like to see your boat live. Will you still be there on the canals of Europe?
Martin (Father).