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Fodor's France 2014
Château de Courances
Château de Courances Review
Within one of the most lavish water gardens in Europe, the Château de Courances is a byword for beauty and style among connoisseurs. Framed by majestic avenues of centuries-old plane trees, the house's style is Louis Treize, although its finishing touch—a horseshoe staircase (mirroring the one at nearby Fontainebleau)—was an opulent 19th-century statement made by Baron Samuel de Haber, a banker who bought the estate and whose daughter then married into the regal family of the de Behagués. Their descendants, the Marquises de Ganay, have made the house uniquely and famously "chez soi," letting charming personal taste trump conventional "bon goût," thanks to a delightful mixture of 19th-century knickknacks and grand antiques. Outside, the vast French Renaissance water gardens create stunning vistas of stonework, grand canals, and rushing cascades. The house can only be seen on a 40-minute tour. By public transport, take the train from Paris's Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon, then use La Patache shuttle bus to Courances.
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