I think we were still jetlagged from the trip because when I came down from my room, I noticed the droopy eyes on everyone’s faces. I was tired too, but more than anything, my mind was pegging at me with dozens of thoughts. I felt a little nostalgic, probably from being in France once again. I hadn’t been to Paris in five years, and it seemed to me like everything had changed... most notably, everything was more expensive.
I couldn’t believe a can of Coke cost me four Euros. Those guys at Snack Time (a small restaurant nearby) were probably laughing their heads off at me. My apple turnover cost much less, but at least it tasted really good.
I ate my food on the train ride to Vaux le Vicomte, a splendid castle built by Nicolas Fouquet, who was “Superintendent des Finances” under the reign of Louis XIV. The château and its gardens were so magnificent that when Louis XIV saw them for the first time during a fête given in his honor, he took umbrage and promptly sent Fouquet to prison (where the latter died 19 years later). However, Le Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is said to have become the inspiration for Versailles, with Louis XIV using the same famous architects and landscapers, such as Louis Le Vau and André Le Nôtre. When we finally got there, I was amazed. All the bright lights from the city were gone. The closely spaced buildings had turned into large open fields. For a moment, I forgot we were just outside Paris. A new world opened in front of my eyes, and a large array of trees led us into the view of the estate.
Entering the château was an amazing experience; the walls were covered with picturesque tapestries and each of the bedrooms was beautifully decorated with colorful wallpapers and large paintings. When we stepped outside, the jardin à la française stole my attention. I was speechless…its perfect symmetry and orderly arrangement made it seem like something out of Alice in Wonderland. It made me think of my mom’s unkempt garden back home in Texas; no matter how hard she tried it would never look like this… If she were here, she would have been so jealous…I’m sure that’s exactly how Louis XIV felt about the garden when he first saw it 350 years ago.