Monday, November 22, 2010
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.
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.