Sunday, October 9, 2016

Le spectacle spectaculaire

We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day.
Brad Meltzer, American author

Walking up to the chateau of Chantilly I was struck by the brilliant vision of Duc d'Aumale who must have said, "Make it so." From the ruins of a palace largely destroyed during the French Revolution, he created an architectural masterpiece, filled it will art and books and then left it all to the people of France (and their foreign visitors).

My colleague and I were hosted for a private tour of the Musée Condé. The art collection is, well, spectacular. Said to be second only to that of the Louvre, it is exhibited exactly as the Duc d'Aumale presented it to his dinner guests.

In the afternoon we were treated to "le spectacle" Metamorphoses in the Grand Stables. Seeing how well the horses were treated gave me some understanding for the causes behind the revolution. Set within this magnificent equine palace the show brought together 3 musicians, 7 riders, 1 dancer, 15 horses, 6 ponies, and 2 donkeys.

Before the show, we an an opportunity to visit with some of the magnificent performers. These are some of the most handsome fellows I have ever seen.

Of course, for me, the donkeys stole the show. :-)  *I must credit this adorable photo to my colleague.

After the show, my afternoon concluded with la crème de la crème of Chantilly cream, spun at the Hameau within the gardens of the chateau. A local shopkeeper had insisted that this is the best of Chantilly cream and I must agree. They kindly provide their recipe: it's a simple mixture of 50cl non-pasteurized cream, 20gr of vanilla sugar and 20 gr of icing sugar. Of course, the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference and government regulations has made it difficult to find anything unpasteurized. This only leads me to the conclusion that I must indulge while I am here.

By the way, the Hameau at Chantilly inspired Marie-Antoinette's  little hamlet at Versailles. Being a peasant, I am very pleased to eat cream with my cake. ;-) I thoroughly enjoyed my day à la Chantilly. Tomorrow the work begins but today was spectacularly pleasant.

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