Christmas Chateau Visiting: Vaux le Vicomte
I’ve been wanting to visit Château Vaux le Vicomte for ages! When I was here 3 years ago I tried to organize a group to visit the Château for my birthday. Long story short, the serious lack of last minute automatic rental cars in Paris was a huge hinderance and it didn’t happen. This year though I was determined to fit in it at some point! Summer and the wonderful evenings where they light hundreds of candles on the grounds passed, but… with Christmas just around the corner, it seemed like possibly even a better time to go visit.
The trip over was super easy! I’ve got to admit I was a little frazzled having just pulled little savory cakes out of the oven right before I left to bring as snacks. So when I got to Gare de l’Est I knew tickets couldn’t be hard to figure out but with a 20 minute count down and three friends waiting… eek! SO here’s the tip: when you’re at Gare de l’est – don’t go to the SNCF yellow ticket machines or to the SNCF office and wait in line huffing and puffing for 5 minutes, go to one of the grey Ile de France machines to get your ticket because you’ll be taking a short intercity train to Verneuil l’Etang and then a shuttle from there.
The drive up to the Chateau was gorgeous down a long straight tree lined road. A quick ticket check and through the stable/restaurant area and pow- I seriously love the roof! And this little boy is So cute!
The Chateau was dressed to the nines with Christmas decorations including… ole’ Saint Nicholas who proceeded to tell us his entire life story while kids waited. I think he’d practiced this awhile because he wanted to get it all in and talked for a good 15 minutes without stopping. One kid did interrupt to ask if he had a cat which really confused him. The others proceeded to sulk away uninterested.
Then we dodged big tour groups and jostled our way into the Chateau where we saw absolutely stunning wallpaper and gorgeously decorated trees. Each room was a different theme!
This was the first tree we stumbled on.. now the theme was Frozen. (I cropped the photo so you missed seeing the slightly terrifying ice princesses) And luckily you didn’t have to hear the Frozen theme song that was playing on repeat and skipping. ah!
I found my new bedroom – minus the crucifix and the ruffle desk – but definitely keeping the ostrich plumes! I think they make a lovely accent at the top of the canopy.
We found our way through the kitchens were we were rudely not allowed to have a pain d’epices sample as they were only for kids. hmph! But we’re kids at heart and I look like I’m 13 – does that count? Fine I’ll take one of the copper pots instead.
The grounds were stunning!! After trying to find the champagne tent we read the fine print and sadly it was just open during the summer hours. We settled for taking in the half frozen ponds and the sunset which didn’t disappoint!
Do I recommend it? Yes totally! We timed it perfectly by arriving about 2pm which allowed an hour or so to wander around the Chateau and then some time to explore the grounds before the sun set allowing amazing views of the lights.
Tips: Buy tickets online for a slightly discounted rate. The website has great directions for how to take the train but driving would be even easier.
oh and the Vin Chaud- awesome! I’m becoming quite the Vin Chaud queen!