Getting from Charles de Gaulle airport into Paris Friday, Oct 25 2013 

If you are like most travelers to France, you want everything to be perfect from the moment you set foot on French soil. To that end, this week’s post covers the various ways you can get from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport into the city. I have used each of them over the years and they all work fine. Whatever method you choose just depends on your preferences and how much you want to spend.

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First, though, a note about Paris airports. The city’s main international airport is Charles de Gaulle-Roissy, located about 23 kilometers northeast of the center of Paris. The French tend to call it “Roissy” (pronounced ‘rwah-see’) so don’t be surprised when they don’t say Charles de Gaulle. Most U.S. and international flights arrive here as well as a fair amount of domestic European traffic. Incidentally, the word Roissy comes from the name of the village near where the airport was built. It used to have a beautiful castle – the Château de Roissy – but today only a few ruins remain.

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A vestige of the Château de Roissy still standing near CDG Airport

Paris’s second international airport is Orly, located south of the city. While some international flights go in and out of Orly, it handles primarily domestic French and European flights. You may have heard about the original Paris airport of Le Bourget northeast of the city. It is now a hub for business and private planes as well as the location for the famous Paris Air Show held each year. And finally, there is the Beauvais airport located about 80 kilometers north of Paris. Beauvais serves low-cost European airlines such as Ryanair.

But back to your arrival at the Charles de Gaulle-Roissy (CDG) airport. Once you disembark, you will go through French passport control and get your passport stamped for entry into France. Next, you will proceed to the baggage claim for your flight (announced on your plane and posted on monitors inside the terminal). In my experience, bags sometimes come off right away while at other times, it can take a while. You just never know. Once you have your bags, it is a good idea to put them on one of the free luggage carts stored next to the baggage carousel. Finally, you will go through French customs – usually just a formality for foreigners entering France – and out into the CDG terminal. If you take American Airlines, British Airways, Delta or Air France to Paris, this will be CDG Terminal 2.

Now you are ready for that first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower! Here are your options to get from Charles de Gaulle-Roissy Terminal 2 into central Paris:

RER Trains

The RER (which stands for réseau express regional) is the Paris suburban train system. The RER’s Line B train goes from the Charles de Gaulle airport into central Paris every 10 to 15 minutes and intersects with the regular Métro lines there. Taking the RER into Paris is quick – it’s about 35 minutes to the Gare du Nord station. And you don’t have to worry about running into a traffic jam on the roadways which happens frequently. It’s also very economical. One-way tickets to central Paris cost about 10 euros. However, if you have a lot of bulky luggage and bags, going through the turnstyles and down into the station to get to the RER train can be a real challenge, especially if some of the elevators and escalators are not working.

To reach the train station from your arrival point in CDG Terminal 2, look for signs saying SNCF/TGV or Gare/Station. The RER trains depart from the TGV station located near Halls D/E in Terminal 2. You can roll your luggage cart through the terminal and then take one of the elevators down into the station itself. Note that if you take the escalator, you can’t take the cart with you. You can buy RER tickets to Paris from the automated machines marked “Billeterie Ile-de-France” located in the train station. You’ll want to have cash on hand as often U.S. credit cards don’t work in these machines. Alternatively, I like to buy mine at from a live person at one of the CDG information desks located in the terminal – just keep your eyes out for them as you walk towards the airport train station.

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CDG Airport with Terminal 2 in the foreground – the black box shows the Gare TGV / RER B station

If you decide to take the RER into Paris, here is the essential thing to keep in mind: Be sure to take the RER B express train that goes from the airport DIRECTLY to the Gare du Nord stop or beyond. Every other train is usually an express into Paris – the non-express RER B stops several times in the suburbs prior to arriving in town. You just need to look at the display board to see which stops the next RER train is making and avoid the trains with many stops between CDG and Paris Gare du Nord. Not only does it take longer but these suburban areas are not very safe. Stories are common about well-dressed travelers being accosted for their money and valuables on the RER B making suburb stops going into Paris.

RER B arrival stations in Paris are Gare du Nord, Châtelet les Halles, St Michel/Notre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal and Denfert-Rochereau. From there, you can take the Métro on to the closest stop to your hotel or apartment or take a taxi the last bit of the journey.

Roissybus

The other economical way to get from CDG into the center of Paris is the Roissybus. Managed by the Paris transport system RATP, these buses leave the various CDG terminals every 15 minutes and go directly to the Paris Opéra in the 9th arrondissement. The trip takes about an hour if road traffic is moving smoothly. If not – and this is the downside to taking the bus – it can take quite a bit longer. I often will opt for the bus if I arrive at CDG during off-peak hours, ie not during morning or evening rush hour traffic or during lunchtime as the roads into Paris can back up then too.

To find the Roissybus departure points in each terminal, you’ll want to look for the signs saying “Paris by bus” or “Roissybus.” Tickets cost about 10 euros and are sold near the boarding point. There is space for luggage on the buses and since you’re above ground, you don’t have to worry about lugging your bags on escalators or elevators or through turnstyles. Once at the Opéra, you can take a taxi to your final destination or enter the Métro there. For more info, click here for the Roissybus brochure and look for the instructions in English.

Air France Coach

The other CDG airport bus service is run by Air France though travelers on any airline can use this option. Their coaches depart CDG every 30 minutes and serve various stops in Paris including the Gare Montparnasse, Gare de Lyon, Place de l´Etoile/Arc de Triomphe and Porte Maillot. In particular, the Air France coach line 2 takes about an hour to reach Paris and makes stops at Porte Maillot and the Etoile. The Air France coach line 4 goes to the Gare Montparnasse and the Gare de Lyon, taking about one hour and 15 minutes. Of course, both of these routes can take longer if traffic is backed up.

Tickets for the Air France bus cost about 17 euros per person one way and can be purchased ahead of time online or from the bus driver at the airport. There is space for luggage on the coaches, and porters are available at both the departure and arrival points to help with bags. For more details, click here to visit the Air France Coach web site.

Taxis

The plus side of taking a taxi into Paris is that they drop you off exactly where you want to go. If there are no traffic issues, you can get into the heart of Paris in about 40 to 45 minutes. It goes without saying that a traffic jam means you’ll have a longer ride as well as a higher fare.

To take a taxi from CDG, follow the airport signs that say “Taxi.” You will exit the airport terminal building to find the taxi line outside. Note that you can take your luggage cart out there with you. There will be a person coordinating the taxi line – wait until they flag you to get into the next taxi. If you need to pay by credit card, be sure and say so to the taxi coordinator as not all Parisian taxis take plastic. The maximum number of people a taxi can take is three unless it’s a van. The cost to go into central Paris is about 50 to 60 euros plus a slight surcharge for each piece of luggage. Occasionally, there can be a long wait for taxis at CDG when several flights come into the same terminal at the same time, but I don’t run into this all that often. Regarding tipping, you can tip the driver up to 5% of the fare for good service.

Private Drivers

After a long overseas flight, it can be really nice to know that a private driver will be waiting there at the airport just for you. They meet you right outside the customs area inside the terminal and hold a sign with your name on it so there’s no way to miss them. They will help carry your bags out to the car – or roll your cart if you still have it – and will whisk you directly to your hotel or apartment in Paris, traffic permitting.

Private drivers must be booked in advance; this can be done through your hotel or various companies. I also have companies I work with regularly to book transfers for French Affaires’ clients. If you are ever interested in this, feel free to email me at info.french@frenchaffaires.com. The cost for private drivers starts at about 100 euros one way for two people and goes up from there. Some hotels and companies charge exorbitant rates for a one-way trip (sometimes 300 or 400 euros or more) so it pays to shop around. You will have to provide the car company with your flight information so they can track your arrival time. Be sure and know their policy for pick-ups in case you are extremely delayed, ie an hour and a half or more. Payment is sometimes done in advance or upon your arrival in Paris, depending on the vendor. You can tip if you want to – up to 5% of your contracted rate. If you are sharing a private driver with several friends and use a reasonably-priced company, it can be a good deal and you avoid the wear and tear of public transport.

Other Tips

When you arrive at CDG and exit customs, you may be approached by individuals asking if you need transport into Paris. Beware! These are not officially licensed drivers and they often charge more than the going taxi rate. Just say “Non, merci” and walk on. Note that they are very skilled at trying to convince you that they are just like a taxi but say “Non” firmly and WALK ON. I once fell for this in Sweden and later was so annoyed that I got taken in. Ah well, live and learn.

There are also shared ride options from CDG such as SuperShuttle. The up side is that they run about 25 euros per person one way so are more cost-effective than a taxi and you do get dropped off at your destination. The down side is that you may have to wait there at the airport for the other passengers before heading into Paris. And of course, you could also be the last person dropped off once in Paris so shared rides can take a while.

To sum up, it’s helpful to know your airport transfer options. Then you can decide how quickly you want to get into Paris and how much you want to spend. Once you’re on the road or on the train, just sit back and enjoy the ride into the city. The Eiffel Tower will be waiting!

“Live in Provence Next May!” Language & Culture Immersion with French Affaires Thursday, Oct 17 2013 

Dear France Travelers,

Provence is possibly the most beautiful and rewarding region in all of France. It is known for picturesque villages, stunning countryside, flavorful cuisine, wonderful wines, colorful markets, fragrant gardens and relaxed culture. Please join us for this extra-special immersion experience where you will have the chance to really ‘live in Provence’ for a glorious two weeks in May, 2014. 

 The extraordinary hilltop village of Gordes

We’ve arranged everything for a perfect stay – private accommodations in modern, fully furnished apartments in the center of Aix-en-Provence, French lessons for your level at Aix’s premier language school, superb cultural excursions in and around Aix organized especially for our group, wonderful dinners and lunches featuring Provence cuisine with wine, visits to colorful outdoor markets, several chances to meet and interact with Aix locals, and a variety of optional activities including cooking classes, painting classes, hiking in the countryside, musical events and more. You’ll love soaking in the ambiance of Provence during this unique immersion into the best of southern France.

I will host our Aix-en-Provence immersion experience and connect you personally with French culture, the language and the people. This trip is ideal for individuals, couples, friends, and even families traveling together. After our Provence adventure, you’ll be speaking French like never before – and you’ll have a lifetime of memories of your time in Aix!

A bientôt,

Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz

Overview of Our Custom Provence Immersion Program – May 10 to 24, 2014

Day 1: Friday, May 9 – Depart your home city & fly to Marseille

Day 2:  Saturday, May 10 – Arrival at the Marseille airport, Transfer to your apartment in the center of Aix, Orientation walk, Welcome Dinner with wine at a special local restaurant

Day 3: Sunday, May 11 – Luberon Excursion: Market day at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence lunch, Guided visit of the Abbaye de Sénanque, Luberon Hilltop Villages 

Day 4:  Monday, May 12 – French Lessons begin, Guided Visit of Historic Aix-en-Provence, Calisson Tasting

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Day 5:  Tuesday, May 13 – French Lessons continue, Cézanne Art Tour with Acclaimed Provençal Artist Jill Steenhuis, Visit to Jill’s home & art studio, Apéritifs at Jill’s 

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 Provence Artist Jill Steenhuis painting in Cassis

Day 6: Wednesday, May 14 – French Lessons continue, Wine Tasting Featuring Provence Wines

Day 7:  Thursday, May 15 – French Lessons continue, Lunch & Visit to the Gardens & Winery of Château Val Joanis

Day 8:  Friday, May 16 – French Lessons continue, Optional French culture activities   

Day 9: Saturday, May 17 – Aix Market Visit, Lunch at the legendary Les Deux Garçons on the Cours Mirabeau

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Day 10: Sunday, May 18 – Village of Les Baux-de-Provence, Lunch at La Cabro d’Or, Moulin Castelas Olive Oil Tasting, Van Gogh’s Asylum   

Day 11: Monday, May 19 – French Lessons continue, Optional French culture activities

Day 12: Tuesday, May 20 – French Lessons continue, Visit to a local Provence Pottery Maker, Dinner with French hosts

Day 13: Wednesday, May 21 – French Lessons continue, Provence Cheese Tasting

Day 14: Thursday, May 22 – French Lessons continue, Excursion to the Mediterranean village of Cassis, Boat tour of the Calanques, Apéritifs at Le Vieux Port 

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Day 15: Friday, May 23 – French Lessons conclude, Apéritifs on the Cours Mirabeau, Farewell celebration dinner!

Day 16: Saturday, May 24 – Farewells & Trip Departure

Your Provence Trip Host Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz

A native Texan, Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz is a specialist in French and founder of French Affaires, a company celebrating French travel, culture, language, and l’art de vivre. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and with Vanderbilt-in-France in Aix-en-Provence. She has lived, worked and traveled extensively in France since 1983. Her specialty is making France personal and special to everyone through her trips, classes and lectures. She still loves to teach the French language and is currently writing a travel book on France. www.frenchaffaires.com

About Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is a gorgeous, vibrant city in the heart of Provence. With a rich history and a welcoming southern French culture, Aix provides a superb base for your immersion stay in France. Aix is known for its majestic monuments and architecture, beautiful old town full of winding medieval streets, centuries old fountains, fascinating museums and cultural institutions, popular universities and schools, lively arts and music scene, and impressive boulevard the Cours Mirabeau, noted by many to be the prettiest main street in all of Europe. There is nothing better than to immerse oneself in French daily life – and Aix is the ideal place to do it. So come relax, learn, enjoy and experience that magical French ‘joie de vivre’!

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The Provence Language & Culture Immersion trip cost is $4895 early registration, $4995 regular registration (double occupancy) & includes 14 nights accommodation in modern apartments in the center of Aix, 10 mornings of French language & culture lessons at Aix’s premier language institute, multiple special cultural excursions, daily breakfasts, many lunches & dinners with wine, various tastings, aperitifs, transfers to & from the Marseille airport, interaction with Aix locals, a personal introduction & connection to Aix by Dr. Seitz, & more. For the detailed trip description, please email us at info.french@frenchaffaires.com. You can also reach us at 214-232-5344 – we’d be happy to discuss the trip details with you!

French Flavor of the Month: Sugar Art in France Thursday, Oct 10 2013 

If you’ve ever been to France, you know that the French have a definite sweet tooth. Pastry shops can be found every other block in Paris it seems, with their colorful and picture-perfect sugary confections lined up in neat rows just waiting to be carried home for dessert. Interestingly, the word ‘dessert’ comes from the French verb desservir, meaning literally to ‘dis-serve’ or ‘to remove what has been served.’ At noble dining tables from the Middle Ages on, the table would be cleared at the end of the meal and light sweetmeats and liqueurs would be offered. By the middle of the 18th century, the French dessert course had reached its peak and had become essentially an art form in itself.

This glorious period in French sweets has a fascinating history, and this week’s post features art historian Alli Eagan who researched sugar art in France during the 18th century. Alli received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Virginia and her M.A. in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While in graduate school, she studied the art of French sugar sculptures from the illustrations and text of an 18th century French confectionery dictionary.  Here are some excerpts from our recent conversation on this ephemeral aspect of French decorative and dessert arts:

How did you come to study 18th century French sugar art?

I took a wonderful graduate seminar on 18th century visual culture in France and England with a focus on empire, islands, gender and ’sensibilité’ led by Dr. Mary Sheriff at UNC. I was struck by this fascinating dialogue between travel literature, islands, and the vast French and British empires. In particular, sugar (grown on island plantations throughout the empire) became a spoil of empire—an example of conquest and conspicuous consumption. And what better way to display your conquest than to bring it back home and make sugar art? And then too, mounds of sugar meant to look like sand from the islands sometimes adorned courtly tables as decoration in itself—a true mark of wealth and prestige.

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Le Cannaméliste, 1751 (All photos: A. Klos, courtesy of UNC, Greensboro, Special Collections)

Most importantly, I came upon the historical work entitled Le Cannaméliste français: ou, Nouvelle instruction pour ceux qui desirent d’apprendre l’office, rédigé en forme de dictionnaire (The French ‘Sugarcanist’ or New Instructions for Those Who Want to Learn the Office, Written in Dictionary Format), a confectionery dictionary by Joseph Gilliers published in Nancy, France in 1751. Intrigued by this idea of sugar art and even its popularity today (ie, cable television cake competitions and all the new pastry cookbooks that come out each year), I set out to understand how it manifested in the 18th century—from sugarcane plantations on islands throughout the empire to tabletop sugar sculptures in France. I ended up writing my MA thesis on this topic as I wanted to shed more light on the place of sugar art in art history.

What were some of the challenges of studying sugar and confectionery art?

For decorative art historians, sugar sculptures pose a unique problem—they are ephemeral, and historians must speak for objects that no longer exist as well as for feasts and performances that are bygone moments in time. Sugar, when used to mold and craft a sculpture or visual decoration, creates the most temporary of art forms; its impermanence as a medium is similar to that of ice. Both fragile and susceptible to changes in humidity, the delicate sugar sculptures and elegant fruit pyramids that graced courtly life in eighteenth-century France were meant to be enjoyed only in that moment. The art of the 18th century French confectioner survives today in Gilliers’s illustrated plates. They are embedded within the densely written text that alphabetically lists topics on the subject ranging from kitchen definitions, utensils, ingredients, syrups, and fruits to table displays. Other sources of this art might come from travel journals and personal accounts of the time.

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What are some of the sugar art designs that would have been seen on courtly tables?

When Gilliers’s text was written, the dining table was set in the service ‘à la française,’ which required that all the food and dishes be set before the diners sat at the table. The elaborate table display would have included desserts that remained on the table throughout the dinner or had been set up on a table in a nearby room. The desserts and delicate sugar sculptures were therefore part of a visual curiosity and work of art on the dining table. Designs included candied fruits, elaborate sugar temples and mythical figures from sugar paste, various sweetmeats, and more. You can see in Gilliers’ drawing that there would have been a painstaking effort to pre-plan both the design and execution of the table. This drawing shows an example of how even the table itself would have been designed to entice the viewer and provide a theatrical experience. You have to just imagine these illustrations in three dimensions and in living color – they must have been amazing!

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How does this art form relate to the French decorative arts?

While the sugar sculptures were impermanent, they were still complex and rich in rococo designs commensurate with other decorative arts of the period such as orfèvrerie (silver) and porcelain. For example, the sugar arabesque forms seen in Gilliers’ illustration below are completely rococo in style. They are resting on a ’surtout de table’ (a decorative piece with mirrors designed for the center of a table). The curves are also reminiscent of the embroidery topiaries in French gardens of the time – all made out of sugar. In fact, many of the rococo arts became intertwined with sugar art so that sweet confections were displayed on dining tables with these mirrors, gold and silver pieces, porcelain objects and more. Today, it is interesting to see sugar sculptures and their designs live on in bisque porcelain pieces seen in museums around the world.

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What is the historical significance to 18th century France?

While the confectionery dictionary may appear as a mere how-to manual of sugar creations, the illustrations represent the complex designs and historically important environments relevant to 18th court dining. In addition, the confectioner (confiseur) validates the highly regarded trade of the culinary arts at the time. You can see the confectioner here working diligently to execute the designs. The delicate flowers were all made by hand out of sugar paste. If you want to see some of this sugar art brought to life, I suggest watching the French movie Vatel (2000) with Gerard Depardieu. Vatel was a famous chef to the 17th century nobility who uses his confectionery and theatrical talents to stage many spectacular feasts and culinary celebrations.

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What did you learn about French sugar art that you do today in your own kitchen?

I learned about the virtue of display and creating a ‘tablescape’ type setting on your dining table. While the methods employed in the 18th century entailed rather large tables, extravagant displays, and a multitude of theatrics, you can take this theme of ‘enticement’ and display to your own home and kitchen. This idea also applies to the display of the dessert or pastry itself. When making my own French desserts such as Paris Brest, madeleines or macarons, I take the care to make sure it has that true ‘french polish’ of attention to detail and display. It makes these wonderful sweets taste even better!

A big thanks to Alli for sharing this wonderful of journey of French sugar art with us – as the French would say, ”Merci infiniment!”

French Take-Out ~ La France à emporter

For a taste of world-class French sugar art currently happening in the U.S., be sure to check out the events and courses offered by The French Pastry School located in downtown Chicago. Founded in 1995 by Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, The French Pastry School provides superior instruction in the pastry, baking and confectionery arts.

 

Course offerings include options for food enthusiasts as well as professionals. Their amazing “Tasting Series” program offers French sweets fans the chance to see superb chefs demo fabulous recipes and engage in tastings accompanied by champagne and dessert wines. Culinary professionals can take advanced classes including the upcoming “Chocolate Showpieces for Competition or Display” in January or “Sugar Showpieces” in February. Be sure to click on these two courses just to see photos of incredible sugar art that is alive and well today!

And for those not living in or visiting Chicago anytime soon, the school’s co-founder Jacquy Pfeiffer has a new book coming out this December called The Art of French Pastry. This gorgeous volume brings the French Pastry School’s classes and recipes straight to you!

The French Pastry School – www.frenchpastryschool.com
226 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60606 USA

France’s Most Famous Party Ever Thursday, Oct 3 2013 

The most famous fête (party) ever in France was actually a housewarming that took place on August 17, 1661. It had everything going for it – the most stunning venue, the finest food and drink prepared by the finest chef, the most beautiful music, the most dazzling entertainments, the most elegant host, and the most VIP guest list of the time – the king of France and his court. But while the party was perfect in every way, this sumptuous evening also gave the king the needed pretext to arrest his host who in his eyes had become too powerful, too wealthy, too sophisticated, in fact too everything.

Wonderfully enough, the locale where this famous – and infamous – event took place still exists today, despite the vagaries of history. The château and estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte lie about an hour southeast of Paris. If you have not yet been to Vaux, I highly suggest taking a day to visit this exquisite jewel of French architecture and history as soon as you possibly can.

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So who was the host and how did he come to offend the king? In 1653, the successful and ambitious bureaucrat Nicolas Fouquet was named the Surintendant des finances of France. Not only a numbers man, Fouquet was highly cultivated with a taste for the good life. Accordingly, he soon began to plan the construction of a château and grounds befitting his social stature and urbane nature. Fouquet had a wonderful eye for talent in every form and in 1656, he gathered together the architect Louis Le Vau, the interior decorator Charles Le Brun and the landscape designer André le Nôtre to start work at Vaux.

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 A portrait of Nicholas Fouquet

After several years of highly costly construction, Fouquet and the three artists had created a baroque masterpiece that exemplified perfection in architecture, decor and garden design. From the impressive stone façade, dome and moat on the exterior to the wondrous grand salon and rich tapestries, gilded woodwork and painting on the interior, the château and its outbuildings surpassed any castle complex that had been seen in France before – we have to remember that Versailles in its present incarnation had not been created yet.

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And then there were the gardens! It has been said that landscape designer André le Nôtre formalized the art of French garden design in his realization of Vaux. The use of perspectives, symmetry, pools, fountains, canals, the grotto, and embroidered topiary hedges, or parterres de broderie in French, came together at Vaux-le-Vicomte as never before.

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On that fateful summer night in August, 1661, Fouquet had invited the young Louis XIV to celebrate his new abode and also pay hommage to the king. But the dazzling spectacle in front of several hundred court guests only served to confirm the king’s suspicions of Fouquet’s embezzlement from the royal treasury and of Fouquet’s own ‘kingly’ aspirations. Of course, politics being politics, another of Louis XIV’s ministers and Fouquet’s political rival Jean-Baptiste Colbert had fanned the flames of Louis’s jealousy several months before. So in effect, the grand party served only to seal Fouquet’s fate and on September 5, Fouquet was arrested by the king’s soldiers.

After a lengthy trial, Fouquet was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against the king. Just following Fouquet’s arrest, Louis XIV appropriated much of the furniture, tapestries, books, statues and even some of the garden trees from Vaux which he then distributed amongst his own residences. He also decided to take the three designers Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre and put them to work remodeling his father’s hunting lodge at Versailles. Madame Fouquet was able to regain Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1673, though her husband never saw it again as he died in prison in 1680.

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Fortunately for us today, the château of Vaux managed to survive over 350 years of tumultuous European history virtually unscathed. Currently, it remains in private hands, and the French owners continue to restore the castle and grounds to their former glory. To my mind, Vaux is the most beautiful château in France for its aesthetic perfection on a human scale. And you just can’t beat the true story behind this storybook castle – with the greatest party ever in France, the jealousy of a king and the impetus and circumstances that led to the creation of Versailles.

Vaux-le-Vicomte is open every day from early March to mid-November each year and on specific days in December and January. It is located near the town of Melun and is accessible by train, car or shuttle from Paris. More information is available on the château’s website at www.vaux-le-vicomte.com. For more information on special ways to visit Vaux-le-Vicomte up close and personally, please contact French Affaires at info.french@frenchaffaires.com.

French Take-Out ~ La France à emporter

We’ll go deeper into the juicy details of Vaux-le-Vicomte and enjoy a visual tour of its interiors in the upcoming France travel class “Magnificent Châteaux Near Paris” starting on November 4 in Dallas, TX. In this two-part seminar, we’ll explore the history, architecture, art and gardens of gorgeous French estates such as Vaux-le-Vicomte and also Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chantilly, Vincennes,  Compiègne, and more. You’ll be fascinated by the personal stories and famous personages who built and lived in these glorious castles. Included in the class are comprehensive handouts complete with details on how to visit these stars of French architecture and culture – including opportunities for the kids! – plus a reading and film list for further exploration.

Date:  Two Mondays – November 4 & 11, 2013

Time:  7 to 9pm

Cost:  $75 per person. Advance registration by check or credit card. Please click here to register.

Location: Central Dallas Location – The Cranmer Institute, 3308 Daniel Ave, Dallas, TX 75205 – located by the SMU campus (parking directions to be provided)

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