France - Vaux le Vicomte, Fountainebleau, Barbizon
This has been a life-altering trip (in a good way) on quite a few levels. So much has happened over the last 4 days that quite literally as I sat on the Metro earlier this evening, my head was swimming.
It’s almost impossible at this point to successfully summarize a few of the days succinctly especially since I am still fighting a rather serious bout of lung issues (due to the smog here in Paris, for which I am now on a slew of medication thanks to France’s excellent healthcare system). Just know that I am currently skipping that story as well as a truly epic day I had yesterday in Montmartre with Hugo and Gael from Rendezvous in Paris. The photos are almost painfully beautiful and we had a great time climbing to the top of Sacre Coeur (sometimes I think I hold onto the beautiful moments longer to savor them).
Instead, I am posting just a tiny slew of photos from the 12 hour day I spent today at Fountainebleu, Barbizon, and Vaux le Vicomte.
1 - This is Vaux le Vicomte. I grew up on a steady diet of history films which were some of my favorite daydream material and have influenced me in so many ways. Vaux le Vicomte has been used in around 70 films including Dangerous Liaisons (one of my favorite movies growing up), Marie Antoinette, Ridicule (another favorite), etc… Quite amazing to see it in person.
2 - …However, seeing it in person was greatly enhanced by getting a private tour by one of the current owners, Count Alexandre de Vogüé. Here we are after I politely suggested that we take a selfie in one of the mirrors at Vaux le Vicomte. :) From left to right: Severine Camblong, Count Alexandre de Vogüé, Me, Katherine Johnstone with Atout France.
In truth, he was absolutely wonderful and one of the friendliest people! He expressed that he liked my photography very much and had seen my photo-blog and was interested in my history which pretty much floored me. What do you say to that? He took us around the chateau and also took us for a ride through the expansive gardens. It was quite incredible. What an amazing experience. I had a great time talking to him about the chateau which has been in his family for quite some time now. I look forward to posting many of the photos I took there today and writing about my experience there when I get back to NYC.
3 - The day actually started at Fountainebleau, France’s largest palace that dates back to the 12th century. I had a fantastic tour of the chateau. This was one of my favorite spots, the Galerie de Diane. I will do a dedicated post about this palace, for sure.
4 - In between Fountainbleau and Vaux le Vicomte, we visited the town of Barbizon which was an art commune in the 1800s and hosted a group of pre-impressionist painters who were in love with the huge forest just outside of town. The town itself is absolutely gorgeous.
Please check out France Guide on Facebook. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here taking photos of Paris and its outskirts and having the experience of a lifetime!