Thursday, December 6, 2012

Le Château de Fontainebleau

Imagine a museum, any museum... what do you see? Usually, a classical building filled with historically-relevant art of some kind or perhaps a modern space made up of interactive science exhibits. In France, amongst other Western European cities with extended imperial pasts, castles and/or palaces have also taken on the role of "the museum."
"The meanings that we attempt to attach to objects are dependent on historical context and the multiple collective memories that shape their reception," (Crane, 2011, p. 107).
To a culture who so strongly values their "cultural" accomplishments, a castle or palace, hundreds and hundreds of years old, is the perfect place to literally set the scene. For a visitor, it also brings the museum experience to the next level. I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to visit le Château de Fontainebleau the weekend before last.
My mom and sister had the audio guide while I chose to wander through on my own. It's probably a bit embarrassing to admit, but I felt like I was on the set for The Three Muskateers or Marie Antoinette.
Not that I believe either were shot here, per se. Arguably more interesting (and most definitely more historically accurate) is the fact that le Château de Fontainebleau is one of the few in France that was consistently habituated, from the François I in the 16th century all the way to the reign of Napoleon III.
Indeed, "the material word," and I'd argue, world, "carries weight--aura, evidence, the passage of time, the signs of power through accumulation, authority, knowledge, and privilege," (Witcomb, 2007, p. 36).
Où? Château de Fontainebleau, 77300 Fontainebleau
Quand? Wednesday-Monday, 9:30am-5pm
Comment? TGV (from Gare de Lyon)

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