I have so enjoyed my twice a month walking tours this year. The tour group was comprised of other parents from Martha’s school, so I was able to meet lots of new people while exploring a myriad of interesting neighborhoods, museums, and churches with a fantastic guide, Jacques. The tours were usually followed by a leisurely lunch, and I made many new friends from all over the world who didn’t have a problem with drinking wine at lunch. Yippee!
Our final tour of the year was an all-day trip to the amazing castle of Chantilly, less than an hour by bus from Paris. Chantilly was built in the midst of an enormous forest, and still feels that way today. The gardens were designed by Le Notre, who designed those at Versailles. An interesting (but sad) anecdote about Chantilly is that when Louis XIV visited in 1671, François Vatel, the maître d’hôtel , committed suicide when he feared the fish would be served late. Apparently there is a movie about that unfortunate incident called Vatel.
Chantilly is actually two buildings, one being the living quarters of the aristocrats who used to occupy it, and the other being an amazing art gallery, the Musee Conde, which houses an historical art collection said to be second only to the Louvre.
The library almost made me swoon. Check out these bookcases.
There is also a “hamlet”, a pretend village built for the amusement of the rich folks. Marie Antoinette requested one like this at her little place in Versailles.
We ended our visit with lunch at an outdoor restaurant on the grounds. Dessert was apple tart with chantilly cream. Of course.