I hate packing. I'm an unpacker. I love discovering each item and finding it a special place as I go along. I'm a nester. I've been this way since I went to college, painting every dormroom, trying to make each place feel so cozy and warm. But I move so often. My last move (the move to France) was the most painful. I had an entire home's worth of stuff. Furniture, books, clothes, shoes, hobbies, everything. I sold it or gave it away or donated it. A whole house's worth. I squirreled away a few boxes with friends and family and took 3 suitcases to France. I felt awful about it and I was embarrassed by how awful I felt - I thought it was a sign that I was materialistic despite my constant claims otherwise.
Now as I pack to go again, I re-evaluate all my things. Piles thrown out. Piles given away. Piles donated. Piles to ship. Piles to bring on the plane. My new awesome job is having some of my things shipped for me. This photo is everything that is going (minus about 10 items still hanging in my closet). You can see the two suitcases that will go on the plane with me on the left. That is it. My life. In piles.
South of Paris, Fontainebleau is surrounded by woods because it used to be the royal hunting grounds. As you get closer to the Chateau, the wild forest morphs into manicured paths.
Until you finally come upon the Chateau behind the gardens.
Inside it is quite spectacular, but each of the rooms is very different since the Chateau was used for almost 500 years. Each sovereign added their flair to the Chateau based on the styles of the times. Here are examples of a ballroom, throne room, and bedroom (love the stepstool!).
This sculpture was displayed very prominently in one of the rooms. It seems that one of the kings had quite a fascination, no?
Overall, A and I enjoyed the Chateau quite a lot. It wasn't nearly as busy as Chateau de Versailles (although maybe that was also because we went in October on a rainy day). Also, the rooms are very nicely maintained, the free audioguides were actually useful (its the first time I've ever thought that!), and the scale of the place was very reasonable for a nice day-trip. Also, it is easily reachable from the Paris train system, RER-R train (departing Gare de Lyon) stop Fontainebleau-Avon. I would recommend it!