Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

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29 May 2017

France Field Report 11 – Day 11 Part 1 / Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

When we were on vacation, after 3 days I was no longer able to include pictures in my blog posts. After 4 days I was no longer able to upload anything at all, but I still composed my posts to update later when I got home. After 8 days I got fed up of bothering to write up things I was not uploading so I gave up. Now that all the technical issue have been resolved, it’s time to go back in time and finish these diary entries.

Steps today: 25 082 / 16½km

Today I crossed an item off my list that’s been on it for years! Château Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Getting there was a bit of an ordeal, but it was due to my lack of advance planning.

I got the instructions of how to get there using public transportation from their website. It’s since been updated for the 2017 season, when I checked it out originally it was still all 2016, but the basic instructions are still the same:

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Simple enough right? I though so! We caught the train from Gare de l’Est on time at 8:45…

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… arrived at Verneuil l’Etang at 9:20… on time… but no indication to of any kind of shuttle whatsoever! not even a sign! Here I am reading an information board hoping to glean some info.

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We weren’t the only ones wondering/wandering, there was a family of four that seemed equally confused along with an Asian couple. The father of the group went into the station to ask someone about the shuttle, but when he relayed the information to us all he seemed very unsure of what he was saying - he said he was pretty confident the clerk said the shuttle was coming in 10 minutes. He looked so pleased and of proud of himself that he had tried to save the day for this little lost group with his few words of French. It was kind of cute so I didn’t tell him I am fluent… why burst his bubble if it’s not necessary.

A few moments later, a bus showed up and the Asian couple got on – I asked the driver if this was the shuttle to the Chateau and it was not. The driver said she did not know anything about the shuttle service and suggested I ask someone inside the station, I thanked her for time we exchanged pleasantries and she drove off. By now, Mr-Save-the-Day’s bubble was probably burst… or maybe I am underestimating him and he was sincerely relieved??

I went into the station myself now to get the information and learned the shuttle was due at 10:30 - an hour from now!! This is of course where the guy understood the number 10 from, but “in 10 minutes” versus “at 10:30” is not the same thing at all! I went back to inform the others who were waiting that we had over an hour to kill.

I still wonder about what ever happened to that Asian couple that got on the bus?

I eventually found the posted shuttle schedule, it was right our faces yet nobody saw it, and sure enough although just like the website all the dates were still 2016 the first shuttle of the day was at 10:25.

So how did I not know this before leaving??? The problem was I printed the “how to get to the Chateau from Paris” instructions, made a note that there is one train per hour and just ASSUMED the shuttles would line up… and they do! Just not every hour, there are only 5 per day!


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Was this information on the website?? It sure was!!! But in a link, and not in the same format as he link to the train times, but a separate link at the end of the directions. Here in the updated 2017 version it looks more obvious, I wish I could see what the page looked like when I looked at it. I am curious to see if it was really missable, or was it just me?

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Unwilling to wait around at the bus stop for an hour, we sucked it up and cabbed it. It cost us 30€, not cheap, but our time had value also.

Turns out that cabbing it was a GREAT idea because we arrived before most of the tourists, and those who were there, having arrived by car, start with the Chateau so we started with the grounds and had the entire place to ourselves! We walked the entire garden perimeter, passed the canal, up to the Hercules status and back – about 4½km stroll. Just gorgeous! 

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We enjoyed our walk around the grounds very much, but we only zoomed through the interior of the Chateau and didn’t take any pictures. We’re both “seen one, seen em all” when it comes to endless rooms upon rooms in Royal Palaces.  The only thing I regret not doing is visiting the inside of the domed roof, that would have been neat but we could not take the chance of missing the shuttle back to the train station. Had we missed the 1 o'clock shuttle, the next one would only be after 3 and we wanted to spend the afternoon in Paris. I did not want to chance it. 

We both agreed in hindsight that his day trip would have been much better if done by car instead of with public transportation – it reminded us of the same constraints on our time when we visited the Pont du Gard in 2015.

We grabbed a quick snack the café/snack bar to hold us over until we could have a nicer meal later in the afternoon, and headed back to Paris.

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