Thursday, 12 July 2018
France trip day 3 - Le Château de Champs-sur-Marne
On our last day in France, Bert and I decided to visit Champs-sur-Marne castle. We had looked up what sites in the area were good to visit before we left on our trip, and the castle popped up on several site. We like castles, and we like to wander castle grounds, so we figured that was as good a way to spend our last day in France as any.
Because we weren’t in any hurry, we decided to sleep in a little later that day, and to go down to breakfast later as well. Whilst breakfast had been very pleasant the day before, this time it was not. Because some Indian family not only decided to communicate in shouting levels (meaning everyone near them also had to shout to have a conversation) but they had given one of their spawn a computer game to play with. The game involved a SCREAMING baby and you guessed it: it could be heard screaming well outside the breakfast room. Why the staff didn’t say anything about it is beyond me, because literally _everyone_ else in that room was giving them the stink eye and clearly that was no clue. Some people should be forbidden to be amongst other humans. The fact that they spawned makes me lose faith in humanity a little more…
But yeah, breakfast was had, and we went back to our room to pack the last bits and pieces. We could stay in the room ‘till noon, but we had decided that we were going to leave earlier because the castle had strange opening hours and we didn’t know what else would be going on in the village.
It turned out to be a pretty small village, so it’s probably good we arrived about an hour and half before the castle closed for it's mid day break.
The building closes over noon for about 2 hours, but the grounds are left open, so that’s good.
The guy at the gate was _very_ rude when he wanted to check our bags. Like dude, seriously. I was glad I had left my backpack in the car, because that was the kind of drama I didn’t want to deal with when people are being that dickish. The ladies at the ticket desk were a lot friendlier, and the people inside were _super_ friendly.
There were a few groups with a guide, and they explained that we were welcome to either join them, or how we had to go to not be stuck in the people traffic. They also took their time to explain the map to everyone, because the paper map doesn’t exactly match the one in the grounds.
On top of that, if you had a question about the castle or something in it, you could just ask them and they’d answer your question. That’s better service than what you get in most museums! Seriously, I would absolutely recommend visiting if you’re staying in the area.
There was an exhibit about marriages, specifically bridal fashion, in the early 19th century on when we were there, and they had put dress models with period clothing all throughout the castle areas that were open for visiting. I love period fashion, so obviously I was really happy about that expo running at the time. I think L’Histoire en costumes: Vive la mariée (History in costume: long live the bride) is still running ‘till September 12, so once again: if you’re in the area, well worth the visit! First we, of course, explored the castle…
And then we went for a walk in the grounds for a few hours. I really regretted leaving my drinks in the car, because there is no café on the grounds, so we were pretty parched after walking around in the warm sunshine for a couple of hours. It needs to be said that whilst there is no café, there are clean and free toilets in both the castle AND the grounds (at the orangery).
A very friendly cat that was also wandering the grounds. There’s house all along the perimeter of the castle, so I think it lived in one of those. It was certainly very social and happy :).
There were beautiful flowers everywhere. From wildflowers in the fields on the grounds, to the cultivated flowerbeds. And of course tons of happy bugs munching on nectar :).
Also a lot of cool statues.
As we were parched after our visit, we had a drink in a café down the street, which was also a tobacco shop. But very local and French (not surprising in a French village of course).
And after that we went back on our way home, because it was getting too late to do anything else locally, and it meant we’d be home at a decent hour. The castle visit was definitely one of my favourite things from these three days in France and I can not recommend it enough. Especially as they have documentation in other languages than French (and more than English), as well as digital info inside the castle rooms in multiple languages, so don't worry if you don't speak French.
France trip day 1: Paris
France trip day 2: Disneyland Paris
All the France photos I’ve uploaded so far (all the Paris and castle photos are there, but I’m still editing Disneyland Paris pictures, so check back regularly!). Of course, if you just want to see the castle shots, click here for that set :).
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