Monday, October 10, 2016

One Final Visit

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet (1854-1900) in The Picture of Dorian Gray

At three in the afternoon I thought everything was in order for tomorrow's meetings and so I rushed out of the hotel for one final visit to the chateau de Chantilly. Indeed I had the opportunity to see other corners of the domain and the musée that I had not yet seen. The bucolic sheep pasture with the temple of love in the background refreshed my soul.

I was able to enjoy more of the spectacular art collection amassed by the Duc d'Aumale. I enjoyed my two hours. As the church clock strikes nine, signalling time for sleep, the body will join the senses and the soul and be refreshed for the new day that awaits. Bon nuit. 

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.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Un peu de crème

If you're afraid of butter, use cream.
Julia Child, American chef and author (1912-2004)

This afternoon's chocolat chaud arrived with "just a little creme" as I find myself in Chantilly, France. While work brings me here, I have a few hours to acclimatize from crossing the Atlantic in a cramped bus seat. (Makes my Go train commute feel first class.) Thankfully, I landed in this land of soft, silky, and edible mountains that soothe any irritations.

My weary bones also get to rest in a sublime hotel. Check out the view from my bathtub.

Today I walked miles around the Domain de Chantilly, peaking into stores and checkin out the farmers' market. Tomorrow I will visit the chateau and its art collection which is said to be second only to the Louvre. It's the prettiest town. So far everything is la crème de la crème.