I went off for a walk to give Jenny and Ewout some time alone…and walked up through the town, taking in the afternoon routines of the locals, children leaving school and the local Uni. At the top of the hill there were ruins of a mediaeval abbey and out buildings.
There were two places on Jenny’s bucket list in this part of France and they were the castle at Pierrefonds, and the chateau at Chantilly, and we were going to visit them in the one day so it was an early start as we wanted to get to the castle at opening time to avoid the rush. Glad we were early as we parked up easily and the place was very quiet.
Pierrefonds castle is where the TV series Merlin was made, Jenny looked up the place after seeing the series. Over the years we have visited many castles and the expectation of this castle had been high. We were not disappointed.They had an exhibitions of early photography and film in the lower chambers. You were free to walk the upper level to view some of the halls and rooms. After a few hours we left the castle and strolled through the town and back to the Bunyip. By this time the carpark was nearly full and our plan to get here early proved fortuitous.
Walk in the Forest
On the way to the chateau we drove through a forest and decided to take a walk. This was a pleasant change from being with people and sightseeing. We followed old tracks that have been around for centuries although some are now overgrown. Signpost are at the intersections pointing to the old roads no longer in use except for park rangers. We picked a few blackberries along the way and took in the serenity.
As it was Saturday and the weather was sunny and fine we expected the place to be busy. After a quick shop for some supplies we arrived at the carpark and the friendly attendant told us to go and park in the bus parking area which was free, it was 4 euros in the carpark.
It was already 4pm and so we opted for the ticket for only the grounds. They were extensive and it took us until 8pm before we returned to the Bunyip. Chantilly is an exceptionally fine Chateau and the grounds are extensive. The water fountains and ponds are set among large lawns and other areas are set aside for natural forest and different styles of gardens.
We went for a long walk through the park looking for the Kangaroo enclosure ( really just Wallabies) and then to an area set up to look like a small hamlet where there was a small café/restaurant where we decided to sit and have a drink. After a drink and rest we walked through more of the vast grounds finishing with a superb view of the Chateau coloured by the late afternoon sun.
It was a very full day but one we enjoyed every minute of.