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June 11th 2012
Published: July 21st 2012
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I will try to reveal the splendor of Fontainebleau in a couple of sentences. We bought a guided tour starting at 8-30. It was a bit of a problem because the tennis game was put off for that very day due to the heavy rain (Djokovitch versus Nadal) and Luda was anxious to get in time back from the excursion. The guide said we’d be back just in time. During the drive, I noticed the sign of Porte d’Orleans metro station – that’d be our destination on the way back.

The traffic into Paris was rather heavy and there seemed no end to cars. Le Chateau reminded me of St. Petersburg palaces in Gatchina, Pushkin, and Pavlovsk – quite similar splendor of the imperial luxury. Had the emperors been not so generous, there’d be fewer castles. But man is bound to create objects of aesthetic beauty for the present and future generations to enjoy. We passed the different rooms, listened about Napoleon, Francisco, and some love affairs. If I were an emperor I’d have a castle somewhere in the quiet mountains, with a lake and forest nearby. I’d not go hunting because animal killing for joy is bad. For food on an uninhabited island, may be acceptable. In at one ear and out at the other – I almost never listen to guides attentively, simply because my perception demands the written text and self-studying.

The castle has a park and a pond with swans and ducks. The swan demanded nutrition and tried to bite Luda by her shoe. Then a group of children came to have their photo taken and the swan tried to bite them for food. Or may be he was just playing. The three ducks looked haughty and after observing me for several minutes they decided to see the emperor and went in a line to the castle (see photo). They are not afraid of human beings at all, it seems. Have we had more time, we’d of course have a row on the pond.

The guide recommended tasting the local apple pie made as per a special recipe and indeed that proved almost beyond praise, and cappuccino also was savoury (well, I’m using a dictionary to find synonyms, not being a native English speaker).

While Luda watched the tennis I walked the botanical gardens nearby and then it rained; Rafael Nadal won in perhaps an hour. In the evening, we visited St. Michel by bus (the same eastern cafe as before) and strolled along Jardin du Luxemburg (unfortunately, already closed) to Odeon station.

Additional photos below
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in the botanical garden near porte d'auteil

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