Friday, January 9, 2015

Ina Caro

I just purchased Ina Caro's second book, Paris from the Past. A  friend of mine talked to me about Ina Caro a couple of years  ago saying that I would enjoy her books. Well, I do.
Ina Caro is an academic and a francophile.  As such, she spends a lot of time in France and a lot of time visiting historical sites.  In Paris to the Past, she divides tours according to centuries saying that visiting a century at a time makes more sense and allows the tourist to better understand what he is seeing.

A few months ago, I purchased Decadent Desserts: Recipes from Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte and was enchanted by the photography of this magical castle (more than I was by the recipes).  

Well, Vaux-le-Vicomte appears in Part Three of the Paris from the Past under the chapter called: The Age of Louis the XIV: Seventeenth Century France.  In this chapter, three destinations are recommended:

Magical Vaux-le-Vicomte
The Secret Castle of Maintenon

 Caro gives excellent information about the best way of getting to these sights but more importantly, she gives just enough historical information to cover the essentials while making it short enough keep the reader interested.

Vaux-le-Vicomte rivals Versailles in its breathtaking awesomeness and is less crowded.  It's most famous owner and builder of the estate was Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's superintendant of finances.  Fouquet, being a brilliant and cultivated man,  engaged the services of some of France's budding best: Le Nôtre for the gardens, Le Brun for paintings and architect Louis Le Vau to oversee the project. What resulted was a castle that while not as impressive as Versailles, is more beautiful according to Caro.

I also own a copy of Caro's The Road From the Past which proposes an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris. The triplet I discussed a few weeks ago was inspired by this book.

Over the next few years, it's our intention to take small trips to explore more deeply the hidden treasures of France's past and with Ina Caro as a guide, I know we won't be disappointed.  What she proposes inspires adventure, discovery and appreciation of some of the finest France has to offer.


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