Most Parisians leave town in August, heading to the shores of France or abroad to begin their 5 week Summer vacation. The traffic out of Paris was so bad on Saturday that the city asked people to consider leaving Sunday or Monday. Adding to the Summer mass exodus headache is the Summer maintenance on several lines of the RER and metro. I decided to avoid all of that by staying local this week-end. I went to the Museum of Archeology in the Chateau of Saint Germain-en-laye and the Museé Maurice Denis, both of which have huge gardens adjacent to them and because it was the 1st Sunday in August, entry to both was free:)

The RER A1 literally stops in front of the Chateau of Saint Germain-en-laye so you can’t miss it. This was where Louis XIV was born, and it was his home before he moved to the newer warmer chateau of Versailles (yes, even in those days they didn’t like cold drafty chateaux). The adjacent park and forest are great places to have a picnic or sunbathe. There’s one small café in the park on the edge of the forest, but otherwise there are only two small stands for drinks and ice cream, so if you want to eat, go to one of the cafés facing the Chateau, or the Brasserie du Theatre and order some oysters and their grilled fish (see my blog post here).

The interior courtyard is impressive, and the museum takes up two floors with about 20 rooms of exhibitions, including some multi-media video and audio sections.

It’s the Museum of Archeology so most items are ancient weapons, tools, and some skeletons of both animals and people. This display of armor was the most striking to me since men actually wore these heavy metal vests to war.

 My favorite part of the museum was the chapel.

 About a 15 minute walk away is the Maurice Denis Museum and garden where art classes are held.

 The workshop or Atelier was closed, but the museum and garden both open.

 The Museum is inside the building on several levels with work from various artists including Gauguin, but sculptures dot the garden.

Maurice Denis.

 Gauguin’s artist pallet.

 There’s a play area for children who may not be interested in the museum:)

 A small chapel in on the property and a registered national monument.

 The garden has many beautiful paths

 The path out is as beautiful as the path in 🙂