Friday, July 10, 2009

July 5, 2009: Plateau at the Chateau

On Sunday, July 5, I decided to plan a family trip to a chateau that I had long been eying from afar. I had heard that there were fun times to be had by all age groups at this 13th century chateau. It's architecture dabbles in 4 different styles and the grounds and chapel's interior are surrounded by contemporary artists' works chosen by the chateau owners. It also offers games for visitors to play that supposedly were played by people centuries ago.

I think we arrived around 2:00 p.m. or so after a drive time of a mere 25 minutes. When we first drove up we immediately saw the tall gates and the very tall chateau. After following the signs to the chateau entrance, we then came upon a lovely gift shop, a terrace for having tea, coffee, ice cream or other treats, and then the big open area of games. Once we got the girls out of the gift shop and ensured that no goods had been slipped out of there, the girls were immediately playing the games. They were having so much fun that when our guided tour of the chateau and it's grounds were ready to begin just 5 minutes later, they were quite disappointed. Up until this point their behavior had been completely normal - which is to say manageable. Though we did get them to part ways with the games, they began to play loudly and roughly upon arrival at the castle where the guide was trying to explain (on his very first day on the job, mind you) the exterior architecture to a large group of people. The contemporary sculptures surrounding the chateau, though cool, were also a magnet for climbing. Grace and Mia were sliding and hiding on them, laughing and screaming with joy. Mia whipped out her typical Hannah Montana concert, singing on her new found stage at the top of her lungs. So within 5 minutes of the tour, Andrew had to make the call to stay outside with the twins while my parents, Ella, and I took the tour of the chateau's interior.

I like to think of 2:00 p.m. as a performance plateau for the twins. Any time after 2:00 p.m. you cannot be certain of the behavior that might be witnessed. So going on outings after that time is a certain gamble. And today, the twins hit their performance plateau at the chateau.

Once we parted ways with Andrew and the twins, Ella, my parents and I began the tour of the chateau's interior. The tour was in French but they did provide an English brochure to explain what he was saying as we entered each of the different rooms. I think we all enjoyed the tour. Ella seemed a little bored but I don't blame her. It was a lot of standing around looking at old things. She did seem very interested in an old pen and ink writing set and also by the very old bathroom set up. My parents don't speak French so it probably got a little boring for them also but all in all, you can never get bored seeing the interiors of these chateaux, their paintings and porcelain, and furniture.

After the tour we met up with Andrew back at the games and tea lounge. We all had some hot chocolate, played some games, and then started back to home. The ride home was pretty uneventful except for the torrential downpour that we got stuck in and the realization that the windshield wiper on the driver side didn't work. I was driving and decided to pull the CTA bus over and wait for the rain to subside enough to at least be able to see partial activity out the front window.

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