A week after visiting Fontainebleau, I went to another château just outside of Paris. This time it was Château Champs-sur-Marne, a smaller and less well know château than Fontainebleau. I also didn’t go with a group this time, but instead with my friend Elisabeth, who was once an exchange student at James Madison University (where I got my BA and my MAT) who is living in Paris.
To get to the château, all we needed to do was take the RER A all the way down to the small town where it is located. For those of you who are unfamiliar with RATP, the public transportation system in Paris, the RER lines are bigger subway lines that go out to the suburbs of Paris. For those of you who are familiar with RATP and the RER, you won’t be surprised to hear that we had to take a little detour due to construction on the RER A. All we had to do was get off at the end of the line before the construction, then hop on a shuttle bus to get to our destination only two stops away. When we got off the RER, along with a mass exodus of banlieusards (suburban commuters) to catch the bus. Elisabeth and I made sure to ask a RATP worker if the bus we were about to get on was going to the stop we wanted. Unfortunately we ended up on the wrong bus so we had to catch another on going in the other direction before we finally arrived.
By the time we got into the small town it was around 2 PM and we walked through a park to get to the château. Before we started our visit we decided to find some lunch. In the very small town of Noisiel there weren’t many options. The bakery was closed for the afternoon, the tiny grocery store only had chips and cookies, so we ended up sharing some french fries at a kebab shop becuase that was the only vegetarian option. However, the big plate of warm fries filled us up and gave us some energy to explore the castle on a chilly fall day.
Luckily for me the château was free to get into since I’m a student under 26. This château was a little but more modern than some of the others I’ve been to before (18th century), and was more like a mansion. I can’t tell you much more history about the château becuase we didn’t have a guide this time, we just read the brochure and the plaques in each room that described the decor and the use of the rooms. One of the coolest rooms in the house was a big foyer upstairs. The ceiling had pastel clouds and the windows were decorated with metal birds.
My favorite part of the property was the garden. It’s style reminded me of a mini Versailles. It was beautiful becuase there were still flowers blooming while the leaves of the surrounding trees were changing into their fall colors. After our quick 15 minute tour of the inside of the castle, we decided to walk around the gardens and look for a nearby lake we saw on the map. Unfortunately the gardens were fenced in so we couldn’t get to the lake. We spent maybe an hour just walking around exploring the grounds, much longer than we actually spent inside the castle. Even though it was a chilly day, walking around in the fresh air for so long was so refreshing. I love Paris, but I hate the pollution. When we were done at the castle we walked another 20 minutes through a park to get back to the bus stop. This time we had no trouble getting home.
Thanks for reading about my adventures and until next time!