Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chateau de Monte-Cristo

It's not really a chateau, it's not even really French either, and for that matter, there is no Monte Cristo in France (just a volcanic island off the coast of Italy) and no count either. But who cares? Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and dozens of other over-the-top novels and plays, pulled himself up by his bootstraps and built a place to call his own. He borrowed details from the Renaissance, the Gothic, the Moorish, and half a dozen other styles in a great mess of house where he could entertain. He did his writing in a separate building perched atop a hill facing the main house, nicknaming it the Chateau d'If, after the prison in the harbor in Marseille where his count was unjustly imprisoned for so many years. Dumas lived large, producing an incredible body of work, and enjoying a reputation as a gourmand, a generous friend, and completely inept when it came to money. He lost the house just two and half years after he built it.

While this was once in the countryside, just two steps from the Seine, today suburbia has encroached upon Le Port Marly and two busy highways and a train track separate the house from the river. Happily, it's only a half hour's drive west from Paris and definitely worth the trip, that is if you have wheels or someone else to drive you. (I can't imagine there's any easy way to get there via public transportation.) Call ahead though because it's only open at odd hours in the winter months.

Chateau de Monte-Cristo


Starman said...

The Chateau de Monte-Cristo looks like a model.

Sharon said...

Wanted you to know that for the last week I have been reading Dumas' Count of MC. I was so pleased to wake up this AM and read your posting. Thanks so much for making it live even more for me. I am reading the Count about a month after reading Les Miserables. Love French literature from the 19th century.

Jeff Butryn
Naperville, IL

jonnifer said...

Ca fait rêver. Thanks for posting on this, it definitely deserves a visit.

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