The Château of Fontainebleau

The Château of Fontainebleau features as one of the most important in the history of royal France, but it is perhaps not very well known. Dozens of French kings called it home at least for part of the year, all the way up to the year 1870, but it is perhaps not well known to…

The Château of Chenonceaux

Sitting aside and crossing the Le Cher River, the Château of Chenonceaux is easily one of the greatest achievements of humans carefully adapting the built environment with the natural environment. Instead of trampling on the natural world, the renovation of what had been an old Medieval fortress was transformed into a residence that worked with…

The Château and Town of Blois

I’ll be honest; a lot of the Loire Valley featured run-down barns and beaten up farm implements interspersed with mostly new houses built in the last thirty years. But occasionally there were awe-inspiring châteaux and stunning towns that have preserved their historic architecture. One such place is the city of Blois, which sits on the…

The Château of Chambord

Oops, the Château of Chambord was undergoing massive restoration of its distinctive towers when we visited, but we still had a good time. Below is a view of what the château looks like without scaffolding. Designed for King Francis I, Chambord was never actually finished, and was rarely occupied during his reign. It however is…

The Trianon

The Trianon was a village demolished for an expansion of the royal grounds of Versailles under the reign of Louis XIV. Equally influential in the development of garden and park design, the Trianon was built to provide a respite from the formality of the court at Versailles, and in the process and in combination with…

The Palace of Versailles

Visiting Versailles just about drove me crazy. It’s an exhausting day, taking a commuter railroad out from central Paris. But you have to take the right train, from the right station to the correct destination because there are multiple depots in the town of Versailles. It was a beautiful day for the start, and it…

The Louvre

I get a good laugh out of the Louvre. It is an absurdity. Obscenely huge, the product of around twenty expansions and now the home of a gigantic museum with a stellar art collection as well as numerous other institutions in other wings, the Louvre was never the seat of the royal government in France….

The Luxembourg Palace

Another influential palace is the Luxembourg, constructed by Marie de Medici, the Florentine wife of Henry IV, who was assassinated. Their son was Louis XIII, and after numerous plots against by his own mother, he finally exiled her out of the kingdom. The famous Marie de Medici cycle was designed to fit in a giant…

Some Random Impressions of France

First off, perhaps I would like to start off with some impressions of Paris, and France in general. This was my twelfth trip to Europe, but my first to France. Many people were surprised that I had never been, and that was a major reason I chose to finally go. As I remarked to someone,…