16th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Infiltrating a Chateau... on Accident

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte is situated outside of Paris, close to the town of Melun. The estate is referred to as a low-key version of versailles, without the lineup. Melun is accessible by train, and the Chateau is close enough to walk to... but it may not be advisable. The trip began walking from the train station in Melun. On google maps, the south end of the estate looks closer to the center of town, and I started my journey in that direction. The building adorned town streets quickly dissolved into farmland and country roads, which was welcome after a week in the heart of Paris. The sun beat down on this hot August day during the hour hike towards the property. I had plenty of time, and used my limited cellular data to check google maps to make sure there was some sort of path on the property from the south to north end, it seemed like it would be the more grand entrance, seeing the estate at its full. The satellite view revealed that there was a path that led from the south end north, all the way to the manor. Putting my phone away, the stone wall surrounding the grounds were in sight. Upon closer inspection, the stone wall had no aperture to enter through, and I began to worry. With no water, and no obvious way around the side of the property, I made a rash decision: to scurry over the 8’ stone wall.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2016
Date Uploaded: 04.2018
Photo Location: Melun, France
Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i
Copyright: © James Bartlett