My adventures in southern France travel blog

"Kids" English Breakfast - I skipped the sausage and fried toast.

One view of the exterior of Fontainebleau

One of Fontainebleau's lavish bedrooms with rich gilded brocades and silks

One of Napoleon's overcoats embroidered with threads of gold

Napoleon's throne room when in residence at Fontainbleau

We caught the P&O Ferry at Dover crossed the English Channel in about 1 1/2 hours and landed at Calais in France early this morning. While on board we ate an English breakfast including eggs, baked beans (they are actually like pork and beans without the pork and with a little heavier tomato sauce), hash browns and bacon. This is the slightly abbreviated version as I was not that hungry and passed on the sausage and fried toast. Then I spent the next hour and a half trying not to get sea sick as the Channel was rather choppy. I finally got to see the white cliffs of Dover as we pulled away from the dock.

Upon landing in France, we drove on the freeway almost all the way to Paris before taking the ring road and cutoff to Fontainebleau. The palace is actually in a small town but it is surrounded by gardens and a large man-made lake. The French, unlike the English Heritage group, allow photography so I worked very hard trying to capture as much of the beauty and examples of 19th century decadence as I could. Surprisingly, there is far more actual 19th century furnishings at Fontainebleau than I saw at the Palace of Versailles in 2008. There were spectacular brocade-draped beds, Napoleon's throne room, intricate tapestries, beautifully preserved clothing, colossal paintings with mythological themes, swords and dueling pistols, silvered toilet articles, lavishly carved and gilded woodwork and even Napoleon's original bathtub as well as his command tent from his military campaigns. My friends had to keep urging me to move along as I tried to not only photograph as much of it as I could but even capture some room panoramas with my new Sony camera.

Tonight I'm in a hotel in the medieval town of Troyes. We plan to spend a few extra hours here in the morning so I can photograph their magnificent cathedral and the medieval architecture and canals they have near the town center. Then we'll be heading south in an effort to reach our bed and breakfast in southern France where we'll be staying for the next week.

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