October 16, 2006

Parisian Perambulations

It's been a wonderful weekend here in Paris. The weather has been divine and there is a lot to see and do.

On Friday night we were invited to a book launch party by a writer friend. He said it would be a little cocktail held at his publisher, but it turned out to be a big party held inside a lithography printer's atelier. The food and drinks were set up next to the huge presses and the smell of printer's ink permeated the air. There must have been 200 guests and everybody was having a great time.

Saturday was taken up with galleries on both sides of the Seine. The Centre Pompidou is closed due to a strike so we have to play it day by day and see if and when they re-open.

On Sunday we made an all-day excursion to the magnificent castle and gardens of Vaux le Vicomte. A train ride to the town of Melun, and then a 20 minute taxi ride, delivered us to this incredible monument. Built in the early 17th Century by Nicolas Fouquet, this edifice was the result of a collaboration between the greatest architect of the day, Le Vau, the greatest decorator, Le Brun, and the greatest gardener, André Le Nôtre. Three villages were razed and 18,000 workers hired with no expense spared. Ironically, this masterpiece proved to be Fouquet's downfall. In August of 1661, the Sun King himself, Louis XIV, was invited to a fete at the castle. Fouquet pulled out all the stops, with water fountain displays, concerts in the garden, a ballet commissioned and performed for the first time, a new dinner service made of solid gold... The King was so jealous that he had his host arrested and imprisoned for the rest of his life. Today, Vaux-le-Vicomte is still privately owned and open to the public from March to October.

More adventures await, so I say "A bientot" till I blog again!

No comments: