Friday, November 5, 2010

Fontainebleau and Friends

Marie Antoinette's Bed (although she never slept here...)
The French nobility seem to love excess - if this is good, more must be better - but sometimes more is just more. The lavishness of the rooms at the Chateau de Fountainebleau is so over the top that eventually the visual palette is numbed.  Pattern, pattern everywhere and not a space to think...  According to these kings and queens size does matter (except in the chairs which are tiny) and the chateau goes on and on and on.  From one ornate and brightly patterned room to another the eye is tantalized with gorgeous paintings, cabinets, fabrics, frescoes, friezes, tapestries (with surprisingly bright color still intact) sculptures, reliefs and multitudes of incredibly fashioned tassels, handles and other details.  It is the rare surface that is left unadorned.  

The inspiration comes in the absorption of the details and the beauty in the whole.  The richness of the colors, even in their faded glory, energizes.  The view from each window on the gardens, lakes and trees, calms.  Life is different in these room, grounds and spaces. Every room reverberates history, echoing the stories and narrative of those who lived there and passed through.

An ordinary person entering the space might feel intimidated and awed.  I guess that was the idea...

The best part was going with a French friend, wandering the maze of rooms together and hearing her take on the place.  She was embarrassed though when they shooed us out 15 minutes before closing time.  There they are, all the guards with their coats on, wanting to rush out the door exactly at 5PM and not a minute later.  No surprise, the strikes about raising the retirement age...

It makes a richer fuller experience when I am with friends and so I am really loving hanging out with Marcy, Martine and Claude.  Their English is amazing and their company full of life and love.  We are having la vie du Chateau for sure!

Here are Marcy and Claude at Claude's friends' restaurant Cote and Port.  Fabulous French food and truly delicious desserts.  So good  that we've eaten there two days in a row!  If you ever come to Pithiviers be sure to have lunch or coffee here.  Anne serves and her husband Stephan cooks.  Tres bien!

We also took a long walk with Rhum Rasin through the village of Yevres le Chatel.  This is the kind of French village that makes me want to move to France...
Martine and Marcy in Yevres le Chatel
The Chapel at Yevres le Chatel

Street in Yevres le Chatel
And since that is unlikely to happen I am enjoying the time I have here.

A bientot!