Good bye to soldiers of Napoleon - Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau Travel Blog› entry 26 of 32 › view all entries
If you are amazed by Versailles and Mont Saint-Michelle, this 19th century glory of France is waiting for you to knock you off to show what French had in the past. But please be relaxed, as the glory is much more confined and also refined in many terms. It is less show-off but a bit melancholic image of the past because of sad history and tragic ending.
Usually one may arrive at Fontainebleau-avon. And from here, you go to Fontainebleau. I still remember the day was a bit gloomy with thick clouds. When you go in, you actually see the spiral stairs which Napoleon indeed say farewell to his soldiers after losing the battle of Waterloo and be sent to the tiny island of Elba. In the famous painting, soldiers and imperial granadiers are very very sad and perhaps weeping without a sound grabbing their once proud of tri-color french flag. The inside was extremely calm and silent, you may not see a lot of people, quite the opposite of Versailles. Again you will see a big pond, and in the center of the pond, there is a white architecture which might have been used as a meeting place for amusement at one time point.
It is not huge at all, and we did not try to look at inside, but walked around Fontainebleau. As most of 19th century and especially Napoleonic architecture, this castle (or Chateaux) has the beautiful french blue rooftop with the touch of ages. As compared to what we felt in Versailles and Mont Saint-Michelle, Fontainebleau only gave us some sort of silence. Sadness than glory, calmness than joy. It is quite a paradox that the most glorious period now remains as one of the saddest time because of tragic ending of Napoleonic era.
The overall trip did not take too much, but in all took about 6 hours for round trip from Paris. We took enough time to stroll, and had very calm time to organize ourselves here. Lunch was absolutely good with my aunt's cooking. Still can't forget those wonderful fromage (cheese) and jambon (sausages) and fresh bread. Fruits from north africa was not that bad, though not the best quality of all. We came back to Paris around 3-4 pm. We decided to take time off for our tour as nephews were anxious to play with us. So what we decided to do was instead to go for Bateau Monsieur. A whole but brief cruise of Paris on one summer night. We got on the middle-size ferry and it slowly moved forward sliding though river Seine. We became true tourists of Paris, and started taking pictures on the ferry. My elder nephew was extremly happy with us, and finally sun was going down. It took about less than 2 hours to go badk and forth. While you do cruise with Bateau Monsieur, you will see the Musee de Louvre, Notredame de Paris, some of Eiffel tower, and old town of Paris facing river. It was really peaceful but pleasant evening.
Now our days were getting shorter and time to go home was getting closer. But we haven't tasted whole lot of Paris yet. Actually we took all the delicious part except the creme of it. I would not describe about our second visit to Brugge as we did pretty much the same thing. It was just more familiar but had an awesome experience with Thalys train. Stopped at Brussel, and came back to Paris. One last place outside of Paris to visit was the famous Renaissance chateaux Chenonceaux and Amboise. And after that we were supposed to go around famous parts of Paris, and headed towards home.