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“Excellent sight : must be visited” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Museum of the Renaissance

Museum of the Renaissance
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Ecouen
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Asnieres-sur-Oise, France
Level Contributor
60 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Excellent sight : must be visited”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2013

I recommand this castle, only 22 minutes by train from Paris-Nord station (the closiest countryside of Paris). This castle houses a magnificent collection of XV-XVI th centuries, as important as the Louvre Museum'one. From Ecouen-Ezanville Station to the castle, you can take the bus 269 and stop at "Mairie d'Ecouen". If you prefer to take a breath, you can walk by the forest' paths (15 minutes walking). Sure you will enjoy Ecouen caste and Museum if you like Art and History.

Visited March 2013
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3 Thank Auguste2714
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Paris, France
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267 reviews
116 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
“A beautiful Renaissance château and gem of a museum!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2012

I have lived in the Paris region for 17 years and have only now discovered this wonderful 16th century château and Museum of the Renaissance. Better late than never! What a find. It is not very well known and certainly seems to be off the tourist grid.

The exterior of the château is really impressive. We arrived about noon and did not know that they close at 12h45 and reopen at 14h00, so we decided to walk into the town to get some lunch. There didn’t seem be anything except some fast food type pizza or kebab places, which was disappointing, but maybe we didn’t walk far enough, so we reluctantly headed back to the museum café, Delyan. I ordered the quiche and salad and received the smallest slice of quiche I have ever received in a restaurant and literally only a hand full of salad. At 13 Euros, it was so expensive for what it was. Service was lackluster to top it off. Their outdoor terrace was closed (“due to wind the day before”?!) so we had to sit inside where it was quite warm and there was not much air. However, once we returned to the museum when they reopened things improved. The price is low compared to other châteaux and museums, only 4.50 Euros for adults. You can pay a bit extra for guided tours but there are printed cards in every room in several languages detailing everything if you choose not to do that. The inner courtyard is really nice although they were doing some restoration works when we visited.

The history of the château is quite interesting. It was completed in 1555 for the Constable, Anne de Montmorency (apparently a common male name back in the day) and his wife Madeleine de Savoie. He owned 130(!) châteaux and was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in France at the time. Napoleon saved the châteaux after the Revolution and turned it into a school for the daughters of members of the Légion d'Honneur in 1806.

The varied items in the museum, which includes arms and armor, furniture, gold and silver work, pottery, paintings, stained glass and tapestries, are all very interesting and very nicely displayed. The highlights for me were the enormous Belgian tapestries woven in 1515 that tell the story of David and Bathsheba, which cover three large rooms, and another emblematic piece - a silver, gold and coral statue of Daphné – simply exquisite. Photos are allowed inside the château without flash.

There is a small gift shop when you enter the château (you exit by the same door) with some nice books and postcards.

The gardens are small and rather dull, certainly not as interesting as other châteaux but it is still worth it to walk in the gardens to have back and side views of the château and for the views of the town of Ecouen and surrounding countryside (a must for photographers). There are also nice walks to take in the surrounding forest.

Visited August 2012
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2 Thank MiaGlobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
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1,703 reviews
888 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,985 helpful votes
“Beautiful Chateau and Outstanding Museum Just Outside Paris”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2012

I visit Paris regularly and friends often ask me about places to go off the beaten tourist track that are near the city. Myriad destinations appeal to me, but Ecouen is one of my favorites. It is easily and quickly reached by SNCF train (about 25 minutes from Gare du Nord). But few people seem to make the trip.

The walk from the train station to the chateau takes about 20 minutes and involves a lovely stroll (a slight incline in places) through a dense forest. The noise from planes making their appoach to CDG Airport, however, distracts a bit from the tranquil natural setting.

The rear of a beautiful French Renaissance chateau looms in a clearing at the top of a hill just beyond the forest. Built from 1538 onwards, the chateau provided lodging for Anne de Montmorency, High Constable of France and chief minister under both Francis I and Henri II.
After many owners, the chateau became the Musee national de la Renaissance in 1977 and displays Renaissance art that formerly was kept at the Musee de Cluny in Paris.

The massive, well-maintained building begs to be explored and further rewards with exhibition rooms on three floors. A small admission fee allows access, and a free Renaissance organ recital is held twice on Saturday afternoons in the chapel. The organist explains the instrument in French and plays selected pieces to show the organ's versatility. When I attended, only five others sat in the audience.

Restored in the 1970s, the chateau's decor includes elegant painted mantelpieces and painted and guilded paneling. An estimated 3,000 pieces on display include arms and armor; gold and silver work; wood sculpture; ceramics; Iznik pottery; furnished rooms, such as bedchambers and a great hall; and a library. One of the collection's masterpieces is a series of tapestries, woven in Brussels, that tell the story of David and Bathsheba.

The chateau grounds include a terrace that overlooks Ecouen and the countryside beyond. A small cafe in the chateau by the terrace offers food and drinks as well as inside and outside dining.

www.musee-renaissance.fr

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank Rumples
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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