Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 2 of 3): Journée Grand Siecle

With train and hotel reservations already confirmed, I had been watching the forecast for weeks before this picnic-in-the-garden, en costume of the 17th/18th centuries event, as it is held outdoors and can be cancelled up to the day before – the event had reportedly been postponed twice the year before due to inclement weather.  The forecast for THE day called for rain, then cloudy, then sun, then light rain, then cloudy, and so on.  Quelle chance!  It turned out to be a warm, mostly sunny day, and I even avoided getting sunburned by having a parasol (vs. an umbrella) in hand.

A lot of visitors and families with children rented costumes from the on-site vendor, Autour d’un Soir, located in Cannes and from whom we had previously reserved ours.  There were attendees who had uniquely hand-made their costume – an amazing site to take in all the colors, luscious fabrics, and designs.  We enjoyed riding in une caleche (horsedrawn carriage), watching a baroque dance presentation, and our eating our petit pique-nique in the garden. Photos were being taken in paparazzi fashion, as costumed participants strolled through the château gardens – a luxurious day to be swept back in time – through the surroundings, the baroque ambiance, and royal pomp & circumstance! (video below)

 

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Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 1 of 3): Le Chateau & Visite aux Chandelles

It was an overcast day, with threats of rain in the dark clouds, during our first afternoon at Vaux-le-Vicomte.  My spirits were not dampened, however, as I visited the carriage annexe, followed by visiting the chateau, while eagerly awaiting le crépuscule (dusk) for the evening’s main event:  “visite aux chandelles” & “feu d’artifice” (fireworks). This once-a-month event is beautifully highlighted by 2,000 candles being placed and lit throughout the gardens and in the chateau’s interior.  Quelle ambiance majestueuse – fit for a King (& Queen)!

 

chateau

 

gate & chateau

statue

steps candle] chateau candle

 

candles gardens

candles chateau

 

Chateau photos:

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Carriages:

 

 

 

Nice to Paris & Le Train Bleu

Nice’s train statio’s renovation has begun, having eliminated the traffic and parking congestion, and now has a large open space in place, giving it a cleaner/sleeker look.  Bravo to Mayor Estrosi!

Proposed Project:

Arriving at the Gare de Lyon in Paris in time for a late lunch, I noticed the train announcement board is now modernized/digital – a sign of the times, I suppose (pardon the pun!) I missed hearing the sound of the flip-style announcement board, so, I decided to “go back in time” and eat at the famous brasserie, Le Train Bleu, with its ornate decoration, luxurious ambiance, and fine dining.

view onto stationView from restaurant onto the train station

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 Une coupe de champagne to celebrate our arrival, not to mention being à propos to our surroundings, was de rigeur!  As expected, the service was excellent and elegant, as well as a vestiare for luggage.  There was a three-course menu (entrée, plat, dessert) that included wine, so I decided to splurge.  I also noted that they offer a vegetarian choice: une assiette de legumes, priced at 18 Euros on the à la carte menu.

menu (wine included)

 

I ordered the “Royale de fois gras,” followed by the “Paleron de boeuf” and dessert as “La suggestion du pâtissier” with a glass of crisp, white wine.

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I couldn’t manage to finish my dessert, even with knowing I would work it off by lugging luggage up and down steps in the Metro.

Some photo op pics:

resto sign restaurant sign

Notre Dame

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is Le Grand Colbert well-known for its lively, brasserie ambiance and great food, not to mention their decadently-delicious and authentic hot chocolate – although I didn’t even have room for dessert!

Also known for its scene setting in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give (video below),” this restaurant has an impressive address in the first arrondissement near the Palais Royal.  It is a special place for special occasions, and maybe Jack Nicholson will show up!

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Day Trip to Paris

It was only a day trip into the City of Light, since I was staying in the town of Versailles. But, no matter how many times I have visited Paris, and actually lived there a short while, I am always mesmerized by its ambiance and historical beauty.

There happened to be a choir singing in Notre Dame Cathedral, which added to its splendor and glory.

Photo Gallery – And since a photo is worth a thousand words……

Do you know the name of the smallest street in Paris?

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Photos – Costume “Bal des Favorites”

As followup to my video post of the costume ball:

The vibrant colors, rich textures, and varied styles of costumes were stunningly beautiful and a sight to behold!  Some of the attendees were ‘pros’ at these kind of events and had even made their own dresses and menswear !

So, that got me thinking, although I haven’t sewn in a very long time, maybe I could make a gown for myself.  I would have to use a borrowed sewing machine, and I’m not sure I can really do this, but if so, what color brocade fabric would you suggest ?

A 1680 -1780 Costume “Bal des Favorites”

Le Bal:

Held in the Hotel de France (l’ancien hôtel de Jean Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Saint Pouange et de Villacerf) in their “Galerie des Glaces” reception room, the period costume ball began with each person/couple’s entrance into the ballroom being announced by an “aboyeur,” then walking under an archway of swords into the room.

The music playing was period music by Lully for the evening’s festivities, accompanied by a dance instructor giving verbal instructions on how to do the various period dances, including the farandole. We even did the line dance “Madison” (equivalent to the Electric Slide) to period music, but with more graceful foot movements, of course.  There were period dance demonstrations and a sword fight presentation to entertain the 100 or so attendees (age range was 20’s to 70’s).

It truly felt like a Cinderella moment, as I was transported back in time and history – via dress, manners, dance, and etiquette – I didn’t want the evening to ever end.  Starting at midnight, the music changed to modern (Prince, Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke), and it was fun, but somewhat strange, to dance in costume to rock/techno beats – and of course, Cinderella had to eventually leave the ball.

The following day, about 28 of the attendees (all in costume) visited the Conciergerie, then walked by the Louvre pyramid on our way to have lunch. Walking through Paris in costume was also a wonderful experience, as passersby and drivers looked and commented. This time, I felt like a star being ‘chased’ by paparazzi, as 15-20 photo takers at a time clicked away when we posed as a group every 5 minutes. Everywhere we went, people had a big smile as we approached, some commenting and/or asking questions, and of course, also posing with us for photos.

(3 dance videos & 1 sword fight video)

(Costume photo gallery to follow in a separate post)