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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

France 2010 - Day 6, Part 2 - Fontainebleau Interior

"I do not know which makes a man more conservative—to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." - John Maynard Keynes

***

France 2010
Day 6 - 8th October - Fontainebleau Interior
(Part 2)

The caisse (cashier) at the Château told me "vous parlez bien français". Hurr hurr. I think it's standard practise to compliment someone who is learning a language (and equally standard practise to demur and say you suck). This is evidenced by PRCs complimenting my Mandarin.

Besides the main Château route (2 hrs) there was also a shorter 1.5 hr route visiting le petit appartement - which I skipped as it was the secondary route, following a tour (in French) was necessary, and focused on Napoleon (who I wasn't that interested in). Besides, I had people waiting for me.

Ironically, they gave me a pamphlet in English - but had ran out of the French ones.

Before I saw the rooms of the Château-proper, I visited the Muséu du Napoleon.

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Vase

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Medals of the Order of the Legion of Honour

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Sword of Napoleon, 1806

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Napoleon I and Josephine in Coronation garb

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Waterfall in the park of Wilhelmshöhe

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Partial reconstruction of Napoleon's tent on campaign

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Horse artillery

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This is not Elisa - she's probably Hortense

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Napoleon again

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Ceiling

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The baptism of one of the Louis. This took place at Fontainebleau.
It is hard to tell good shots of smudgy paintings from bad ones - I had a big headache sorting through the photos of paintings in this blog post.

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Henry IV embracing Sully (a slandered counsellor). This took place at Fontainebleau too.

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Louis XIV and a plan of the place in 1713 (it isn't that different today)

As you can see, it's quite similar to Versailles; while châteaux aren't that different, there's still a significant amount of variation among them - but Fontainebleau and Versailles are quite similar

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Ceiling

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Plates in Gallery of Plates

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Gallery of Plates (and Spanish Girls who were in the way)

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The Muses

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Pius VII's 1804 bedchamber (Napoleon hosted him)

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Pope Pius VII, by David

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Ann of Austria's Bedchamber

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Ceiling

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Tapestry: Life of Alexander the Great (Gobelins Manufacturing). Amazingly all these photos are at -2 exposure - the camera I was using has a light fetish

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Vases

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Carved Door

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Vestibule of the Chapel

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Gallery of Francis I. The paintings along the side bear witness to his attempts to turn Fontainebleau into an art hub. The salamander was his sumbol so you can see it everywhere

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Carp Pond

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Elephant with Salamander. There is a lot of other symbolism in here, including the 3 realms that Francis I ruled over. The sky, the sea and probably the earth; the audioguide was rather fast.

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Nymph of Fontainebleau

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Salamanders on wall of gallery

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Guard Room

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Guard Room Ceiling; the roof and the freize are the only original decor of this room

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Nudes in King's Staircase

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Ballroom. The King of Siam was welcomed here.

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Gardens from Ballroom

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"A monumental fireplace supported by two bronze satyrs, reproduced in 1966 (the originals were melted down during the Revolution)" - Frommer's France 2011

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Cour Henri IV (Henry IV Courtyard)

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Chapel of St Saturnin - Dome

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Chapel of St Saturnin

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Door panel

I was being nagged and an attempt was made to lure me out with the promise of cold drinks and a dessert (I declined, finding Art and Palatial Majesty more nourishing to my spirit), so I asked the attendants how many rooms were left. One said there were 30, but said they were all the same and one could walk through them in 10 minutes (except for the Galerie de Diane).

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"The Catching of the Fox, Hunt in Scotland"

There was a Salon of Louis XIII - Henry IV (?) had redecorated it in honour of his son - the first not born in public (this was meant to prove legitimacy, but given male paternity uncertainty, I'm not sure what help it was)

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The Story of Psyche in the Salon of Tapestries

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The Gallery of Diane. Unfortunately one could not enter (I was standing on the steps leading to it)

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Empress's Bedchamber. Empress Eugénie used this room. This has something to do with Marie of the Medici someone of the Medici also, but my notes seem to talk about Mary (?) of the Medici, who does not exist.

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This room had no description but it was next door to the one above and had a tub, so it was probably the Queen's bathroom. Charming.

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[Napoleon's] Throne Room - the only one in France with its original furniture

The roof of Napoleon's study had an allegory of the return of the Bourbons to France. Hah.

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Trinity Chapel

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Altar: Henry IV and Louis XIII represented as Charlemagne and St Louis (very humble)

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Back of vault: the Redemption of Man

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Altar used for burning incense from Hankou in China. This was very incongruous.
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