On Sunday, November 2nd (I was going to say "last Sunday".. Can't believe it's been so long!), my friend and I decided to explore the countryside surrounding Paris, specifically the wonderful town of Chantilly. We originally planned on taking the train until the edge of the 5th zone, but when we leafed through a book I found, we discovered Chantilly.
It was supposed to rain all day, but it ended up being a sunny fall day without even a hint of rain.
We had a bit of an interesting experience trying to get to the town and the chateau. Our train stopped a couple stops sooner than we thought it would. We ended up being dropped off at a small, relatively abandoned train station much further away than we had hoped to be.. But we figured it out and eventually made it to Chantilly, and it was well worth the difficulties of getting there.
The chateau was beautiful and ornate. I'm finding that the French love decadence, especially in their chateaux. I've still yet to find a chateau more decadent than Versailles, but this residence had a unique charm to it -- the owners adored art and they covered most of the rooms with Bodacelli, Delacroix, etc. It was a feast of excellent art works.
The previous residents also had a love of old and rare books. They had a small library, but the library was packed full of these books. Two stories of rare books... Unfortunately, they didn't let us borrow any of them. Maybe next time, we can convince them.
I love a beautiful chateau, but I was especially taken by the grounds. Maybe it was the romance of Fall, but Chantilly had a lovely country charm that the bustle of Versailles lacks.
I confess that I sometimes don't take pictures of some really important things. For example, Chantilly is known for their whipped cream. I've had some pretty amazing whipped cream; I've even had Chantilly cream in Paris. I was expecting that. No, no, no. Chantilly makes the thickest and most impressively delicious whipped cream that it kind of boggled my mind. I was so excited to eat it and drink it in the best coffee I've had in Europe that I forgot to take a photograph to share with you. But a photograph would not do it justice. If you find yourself in Europe and you like good things, I'd recommend visiting Chantilly for the incredible cream and wonderful atmosphere. Maybe you can keep your composure long enough to photograph it..
We even got to see the sun set behind the trees as we strolled around the gardens. Not a bad Sunday in my opinion.
But wait -- We met a cat. We made a buddy in feline form. I saw him lingering on a fence and decided that I would pet him. I guess some things don't change over the years. Going up to animals I don't know has been a habit since I could walk. Either way, we spent 15 minutes or so snuggling this beauty. He was incredibly affectionate in a way that reminded me of the barn cats. He would paw us when we would stop petting him. It's tough being away from animals; they're a special kind of awesome.
"Wait -- we have to leave??"
I'm continuously surprised by fall's staying power in France. It's November 16th, and the trees still have leaves. Most of them hadn't turned by November 2nd. I'm used to fall colors being muted and mostly gone by the beginning of November. Can't say that I mind the elongated season!
A spontaneous trip, good company, beautiful fall day.. What more could you ask for?