Without question, Vaux-le-Vicomte. Read up on the history, which is quite a story. You'll see the unfinished work, when the enraged Louis IV pulled off the artisans to work on Versailles. The night before, the big party was held and Fouquet, the builder of the chateau, went to bed at the apex of his career and his dreams. The next morning when he woke up he was condemed to prison, where he languished and then died 13 years later.
ABSOLUTELY Vaux le Vicomte.
Try to go in the evening when they have it all lit by candles. It's gorgeous.
And, to add to Francophool's story, one of the "myths" is that Fouquet could have been the infamous "Man in the Iron Mask"...who knows....
I would say Vaux le Vicomte is my most favorite Chateau! We spent a full 5 hours there last August! It was my second time there. They have remodeled inside since I was last there. It is a privately owned chateau.
I read that "Desperate Housewife" Eva L. is having her wedding there this summer! What a dream!!
The gift shop is fabulous and the cafe has a good cafeteria type lunch!
Does your time frame of 1/2 a day include travel time?
You will have to take the train and then hire a taxi unless they have a shuttle bus running at the time you arrive.
My daughter went on the train to Fontainblu and then took the bus directly to the chateau. They toured it then they took a taxi to Vaux le Vicomte. I think it took her the whole day to do them both.
Have a great time!
Thank you all soooo much! Vaux les vicomte it is!! and lucky me, the day I am planning to visit has the candle lit tour that night!! can' wait.. does anyone know if we can see the grounds before the candle lit tour starts? MERCI
Go out during the day...and stay for the fountainn displays and book the evening Candlelight tours in the evenings during the season
Or any of these chateau easilly accessed from central Paris--
It's also possible to visit both Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte in the same day with regional bus connections.
CHANTILLY--(and the town of SENLIS)--
Chateau de Vincennes is far and away the easiest to get to---located at the end-of-the-line of the #1 Metro and along the RER 'A' ligne. The chateau only recently re-openned after a 10 year renovation and refurbishment.
Links to Loire Chateaux--
Um...I don't want to appear to be a jerk or anything, but it was Louis XIV, Fouquet wasn't arrested for several weeks after the party, he wasn't condemed to prison the next morning (his trial didn't start until the spring of the next year, and actually lasted forever). He was exiled but Louis changed the sentence to send him to prison, and he died about 20 years after the big party (not 13), which, btw, is celebrated at Vaux on its anniversary on 17 Aug. The chateau was pretty much finished long before the fateful party, and Fouquet threw several "warm up" parties before the big one. The king had long decided to get rid of him after Mazarin died, so although much is attributed to that party, the truth is it didn't have a whole lot to do with Fouquet's ousting. Louis knew he (Fouquet) was way too powerful, had grown tired of living with Mazarin running things, and wasn't about to let someone else take up those reigns...so...he got rid of him.
Alas, I digress. In answer to the OPs original question, you can do both Vaux and Fountainebleau easily on the same day if you rent a car. Stop for lunch in between. You might also investigate Chantilly.
If we were to rent a car to see both, as mentioned above, how hard is that to do just for the day? We are staying at Le Meridian Etoille, is there a car rental in walking distance? Does anyone know how far away to find a car?