Monday, November 22, 2010

Chateau d'Ecouen

After sharing my disappointment with the Medicis exhibit at the Musée Maillol, it's only fair that I bring to your attention something positive on the museum front.  As luck would have it, I not only have something upbeat to say but it's also about works from the same period.

Now the Chateau d'Ecouen is not exactly convenient -- it's located a good 20 kilometers north of Paris.  By road, it's not a particularly pretty drive.  And while you can get there by train from Gare du Nord, the station is a bit of a hike from the center of town.  But if you're up for adventure, go for it.  The building was the home of Anne de Montmorency, a man close to both France's great Renaissance king, Francois I and his son Henri II.  But this is not just a chateau; it's also the site of the Musée National de la Renaissance.  For an entry fee of just 5 euros, you get to see a castle almost entirely from the Renaissance era and a collection of tapestries, paintings, ceramics, furniture, and curiousities par excellence.  For every one precious object found at the Maillol exhibit, there are at least a dozen of the same type at Ecouen plus there's practically nobody there.  Seriously.  The galleries are large and well-lit and a plus for visitors at this time of year -- well heated too.  If you are up to pay a bit more, there are guided visits every Saturday and Sunday on specific themes.  If the guide is anything like the one I had, it is well worth the few extra euros and so much more engaging than an audioguide.

It was far too gray, gloomy, and chilly this week for a tour of the park but it looked pretty grand.  And if you have a car and the time, the Abbey of Royaumont is just a stone's throw away and well worth a visit itself. 

But don't take my word for it.  Go to the museum's Web site and take a look around.  Everything you need to know about the musee can be found right here.


Harriet said...

You take the most interesting excursions on the outskirts of Paris. This chateau looks wonderful.

Starman said...

Being the naive person I am, this is the very first time I've ever heard of a man named "Anne". In today's world, it just seems so strange. But the chateau does seem like it would be well worth the effort.

Anne said...

Starman: Me too and I'd have noticed otherwise. The guide mentioned that names change with the times. My grandfather's name was Sydney and he spent his life mortally embarrassed by having what he considered a "girl's name." Go figure.

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