Saturday 7th September
For some reason, Pierrefonds is in my notebook as somewhere to visit. I can only think that someone has recommended this town as a good place to visit and it was nearly on the way to Germany, so why not?
The first place we see is the Chateau, looks nice, not the biggest we’ve visited but certainly not the smallest. The house in the bottom right is up for sale and Lucy was very keen until I pointed out that there would be nothing left in the coffers to pay for a cleaner. She has enough problems keeping Frankie spick and span. Did I ever tell you about my long running joke regarding the furniture polish – we’ve had it so long it’s gone past it’s use by date. I had to throw it out earlier this year, the propellent does stop working after 15 odd years or so.
The house has lovely views overlooking the lake to the main attraction, Chateau de Pierrefonds.
We really hadn’t expected to see this. We had driven for miles and miles over flat countryside with large fields either side, some of which were battlefields in the First World War. As we got close we entered a huge forest, maybe 15 miles worth and then bahm! The Chateau is here due to the fantastic hunting grounds in the forests. (On the way out, after our visit, the forest ended very quickly and we were back in large open fields again).
Originally built in the 12th century it was demolished in 1617 when the owner, Francois-Annibel d’Estrees backed the wrong side against Lois XIII.
Napolean bought it in 1810 for 3,000 francs as a ruin. In 1850, Napolean III visited and asked Viollet-le-Duc to restore it and work continued until 1885. There wasn’t much to go on as to how the Chateau originally looked so Viollet-le-Duc made some educated guesses and some wild inventions.
Salamander downpipes for example.
Even though nearly everything above ground level is invention I thought it was a far more convincing reconstruction than Carcasonne, but then what do I know?
Entry was €8 each plus €3 for the audio guide. Excellent value for money, we spent over three hours inside.
We are now holed up in an aire in Villers-Cotterets, only 2 vans here, very quiet and free. Tomorrow we’ll continue heading for Germany, might need to step up the pace before the Federweisser runs out.
Don’t make the same mistake as me. On the ferry I was looking at the whisky and thinking it would be nice to have a little tot in the evenings. I’m not paying duty free prices, I’ll get some in Lidl – they have award winning stuff (or is that Aldi?). Browsing the shelves in Lidl I find some of heavens nectar, Hampstead – Rare S election, Rare Tradition and it’s less than €8 a bottle – must be good stuff.
One taste and you know it’s not. I now know better having read the label:- Mixed spirit drink made with a blend of distillates of agricultural origin (94%) and blended Malt Whisky (6%) and caramel colouring. It then goes on to say “Enjoy the fine, subtle taste of this Hampstead blend neat or on the rocks”.