Sunday, September 6, 2015

Day 25: The Market and the Gardens at Fontainebleau

Our big reward for the aggravations of getting to Fontainebleau was a delightful morning the next day. It was bright and clear when we awoke, and we had a nice breakfast at the hotel's big buffet, including lots of strong latte. Then we eagerly headed for the open market.

The market was held in a huge parking lot near our hotel. In addition to every variety of fresh produce and fish, there were clothes, jewelry, and even books for sale.

Dan took photos while I looked for souvenirs. I found a lovely pair of crystal earrings to replace the tacky bracelet I had lost. They were sparkling in the sunshine at the booth of a beautiful and pleasant young woman from Madagascar. I planned to give them to Heather, my trainer at the gym, who had helped me get ready for the museum marathon. I took them straight back to our room and stowed them securely.

Mme Navaso Spitz
Minerales de Madagascar
Chez Bernard, the restaurant where we ate a gourmet meal the night before, was in good light for a photo.

Chez Bernard
From the market, we walked across the way to the Château to see the gardens in the morning light. We went into a section with beautiful flower beds. The palace looked much larger and more impressive from the back, and cumulous clouds were banked up over it.

At first glance, the flower beds looked casual or haphazard—and rain had been heavy the night before—but upon further study, I saw a repeated pattern. Later I found a sign that showed the design of each pattern and identified the flowers used. I really like the planting style.

The vast area was divided into parts that were shaped around pools with small fountains.

We didn't have the time, or the energy, to enjoy the jogging trails lining this canal. But that sight made me want to move to Fontainebleau, so I could walk there every morning.

Most of the pools had large carp, and some had swans as well. I'm guessing the royal family ate a lot of fish.

The huge old trees just bowled me over with their beauty.

All too soon it was time to check out of our hotel, so we turned back toward the palace.

From the front of the palace to the street is a very long cobble-stone walkway. The stones were so uneven that I meditated at length on the many types of old paving we had walked on in Fontainebleau, and in Paris as well. Those uneven stones make your ankles wobble, and I was glad for my fitness training.


We checked out and I waited with the baggage while Dan retrieved the car from the garage. I took this photo of the street showing the Ibis sign for our hotel on the right.

The night before, using the hotel's wifi, I had complained on Facebook about my iPad mapper not working because my data plan had been cut off. My cousin Sarah had explained that it was possible to download Google maps for later use, so I had downloaded a map of our route back, which made us a lot more confident. Regretfully we zipped back through the forest of Fontainebleau, through the suburbs, and into the intensity of the city.

Captain Dan wanted to fill the gas tank before we dropped the car; that turned out to be a time-consuming hassle.

We got back into the parking lot okay, but it was almost empty, and we had a hard time finding an elevator that worked. Dan said the shopping center must be closed. I said there was no way a shopping center would ever be closed in prime shopping time. We finally teamed up with an energetic young man who was also disoriented. When we finally found a functional elevator and emerged into the shopping center, all the stores were closed, and it was unclear how to exit. The young man ran here and there. Finally, we spotted some employees who were leaving, and followed them out; the young man carried my bag down the two flights of stairs to the street. We dropped off the car key at the car rental office and grabbed a taxi nearby.

That night we had a nice dinner at our nearby bistro.