Paris, Day Twenty-three: Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is about 80kms south of Montmartre. Today we made a day trip to the exquisite Chateau de Fontainebleau, birthplace of Henri III and Louis XIII.

We had great intentions of getting away early, but it was 12 noon when we left the apartment. We took the subway down to the Gare de Lyon train station. We bought our train tickets and spent quite a bit of time running up and down various stairs and escalators looking for the right platform to leave by. We asked quite a few people for help, and were sent back and forth to different locations by each of them. Finally a young woman who spoke NO English looked up the schedule on her phone and then motioned for us to follow her as she led us up and around to yet another platform from where we eventually got on our train, leaving Paris at 1:19. We arrived at Fontainebleau at 2 o’clock. We took a local bus from the train station out to the large chateau. Once there we stopped at one of several cafes just outside the castle grounds and had lunch: a “croque-monsieur” (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) for me, and a “croque-madame” (the same, but with a fried egg on top) for the lady. After finishing lunch with a large beer and a small coffee, we headed to the museum.

We bought our entry tickets and the ‘audio guide’, which was pretty cool. You could walk around through all the rooms and the audio guide told you little stories about what you were looking at. The pace was good and the chateau was excellent! Huge! And once again it was a case of too much! You can only look at so many gold crowns and carved ceilings and floors and fancy chairs and beds in one afternoon! It feels wrong to finally just skip the audio tour and walk through a bunch of rooms without stopping and taking a photo, but that’s what you have to do. You just can’t do and see everything.

We walked around the gardens and grounds for a bit — once again, they were lovely, and so was the weather! Coolish, but the umbrellas stayed in Sue’s backpack today. We left the chateau and waited at the bus stop for a ride back to the train station. When we got to the train station we were told by the guy in the information window that the 5:30 train was cancelled due to a strike (“but eet eez honly a ver-r-y leetle str-r-ike”) and the next train back to Paris would come by at 6:00. So we sat on a bench and waited. We watched a couple of these ‘bullet’ trains go screaming right through the station without even slowing down, but our 6:00 train showed up right on time and we made it back to Paris by 6:35 and we were back home by 7:30.

Sue made a pasta dish for supper and then we settled in for another double episode of Downton Abbey. After a bit of wine and chocolate, and a little catching up with some more computer work for me, we finally went to bed at 2:00am.