I love this place! Chateau Maintenon. It’s on the way to Chartres, just past Versailles. It was the home of Madame de Maintenon – the secret but legal wife of Louis XIV for those of you who are history buffs. Why did this one capture me? Partly the size. It’s so incredibly beautiful but manageable. Versailles just overwhelms you. Also the fact that the family actually worked on the restoration themselves and created a foundation and eventually turned it over to the French government. That’s love for their home.
The gardens were designed by La Notre – the famous gardener who also set out the Versailles gardens. Did you see A Little Chaos? In France it was called Le Jardins de Roi. With Kate Winslett? Historically inaccurate and accurate. I am sure the story of the gardens themselves was true; I seriously doubt there was a female gardener at that time. But it’s a gorgeous testament to the gardens. So the gardens at Maintenon were originally designed by La Notre, but the current gardens are in the style of. When your chateau is your ancestral home, you think more about your own comfort rather than preserving what granddad did. Or grandmere, or actually, grand tante in this case. (Madame de Maintenon left her chateau to a niece.)
It’s an easy trip from Montparnasse Gare and then less than a mile walk through the town to get to the Chateau.
In the far distance, you can see the aquaduct that Louis XIV started to bring water to Versailles. Never finished…