18.11.2012 - 18.11.2012 10 °C
We started our day early, around six in the morning, in order to catch the train at 8:30. We said goodbye to the streets of Paris as we made our way down into the depths of the metro. It had been a good first week in Europe, and our outlook was sunny in comparison to the dark and dreary morning we were greeted with. Arriving at the airport, we were soon shuttled to where we would pick up our new method of transportation, a Renault Kangoo, for the next two months. It was brand new, with just four kilometres on it. Not for long, though. We then set off for our next destination, Les Brulins.
Along the way, we stopped in the town of Fountainebleau. After trying out some French pizza, quiche, and pastries, we took a tour of Chateau Fountainebleau, a chateau that had housed many royal figures throughout the years. Parts of it had been around since the 1200s, with each occupant adding to it structurally and decoratively. Some of the more famous residents included Napoleon I, King Henry IV and Louis XIII. You can see the signatures of the various inhabitants in the symbols and ciphers strewn throughout the rooms. One of the rooms was redecorated for the birth of Louis XIII. The size of some of the beds made it obvious that they had been created for Napoleon I. There was a narrow but very long library, and a beautiful chapel with intricate designs and a magnificently decorated ceiling. After the tour, we walked around the grounds for a bit, and admired Chateau Fountainebleau from the outside. Considering its size, it really was hard to believe that only a few people would live there at any one time.
We made our way back to where we had begun, and thought that we might do some grocery shopping before the last leg of our journey. The problem with that was, being in a older, smaller town, the shops all closed early on Sundays. We asked at a boulangerie that had just begun to close up if there might be anything open nearby, but they told us that nothing, rien, was available. So we bought a couple of baguettes and headed towards our new home, hoping that we would be able to pick up something to eat there. However, that didn't go as planned either. By errors both human and GPS related, we were lost in a small town with little idea of where we were. We tried asking for directions and looking at a map, but neither went very well. So I was picked to phone up our landlords with the hope that they would be able to give us some directions. The patchwork conversation of English and French was enough to get our current location across, and we were soon greeted by a friendly face and "Vous- êtes les canadiens?". We followed him back through narrow, windy streets and finally arrived at the quaint cottage that we would be calling home for the next couple of days.
Sweet and grandmotherly Madame Gravelle showed us all the nooks and crannies of our cozy chalet. The language was only a minor barrier, and we found her to be helpful and extremely charming. After she left for her place, which was about 50 metres from ours, we surveyed our nutritional situation. Our rations included two baguettes, a packet of rice, a nearly-empty jar of Nutella, two apples, two cans of juice and some cookies. We could either venture back out into town, with no guarantee of returning, or survive on what we had. We chose the latter. It actually wasn't that bad, measuring and distributing portions of each item between the four of us (though I think Dad may have been cheated a little, as Abby ended up with the same amount of food as he did). Nibbling cookies and playing games (I won two out of three, by the way), we wound up our slightly tumultuous but definitely enjoyable day.