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Vaux le Vicomte candlelight supper

Loie and I are intrigued by the idea. Does anyone know if the food is good? Thanks!

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  1. I think you can.

    I ate there. It was very good, but it was a wedding, so I can't vouch for their "normal" cuisine.

    1. The place is so spectacular imho it's worth taking a chance.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        Exactly. That's one place where I'd risk eating crap.

      2. It's kinda touristy, the shine wears off shortly into the meal.

        Here's a better (IMO) one star place in the same area:


        BTW, you will need a car, it will be difficult to get a taxi for the long ride from VLV to the Gare. (Melun)

        1. Well, thanks to all who responded. We'll not have a car in Paris. I think during our trip time (July) the chateau runs shuttle buses to the train. So we'll be kind of "stuck at" the chateau once we get there. So lemarais, we're hoping this all works out!

          I've booked us two seats for dinner, hoping for the best, and willing to accept less just because it's such a silly idea. One thing that decided us is that on that Saturday, the fountains will be operating in the late afternoon. If there's been enough rain to fill the chateau reservoir! Yikes! And, a candlelight visit entry ticket can be used from 2:00 pm on to enter the grounds & chateau.

          So we can wander the gardens in the afternoon, have a dinner while the candles are being lighted, and tour the chateau by candlelight after dinner. Hope that works!

          5 Replies
          1. re: BuckyE

            Bucky, please do come back and report...I've been thinking about doing this when we go in the Fall, and would love to hear how it works out and how the food is.

            1. re: BuckyE

              at this particularly moment, it has been a ridiculously wet spring here in the Ile de France -- there should be plenty of rain in the reservoir.

              I know they run a shuttle late on the candlelight evenings, but I know several people who've just had the gift shop call them a taxi -- it's 15-20 minutes from the Gare in Melun - probably less late in the evening.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Thank you, Sunshine, for that tip. We'll keep in mind to avail ourselves of taxi. Now, let's just hope for "Sunshine" on our day!

                1. re: BuckyE

                  I'll cross my fingers for you -- I'd like to have some dry, sunny weather, too!

                  It's really quite interesting to see the inside of the chateau -- illuminated like it was when Fouquet first built it.

              2. re: BuckyE

                You should check to see if they are having fireworks the night of your reservation. If so, I would recommend that you have dinner later, so then you can keep your table for the fireworks show. i went to the Chateau last year, just to do the tour by candlelight and to see the fireworks. My friend and I regretted not having made a dinner reservation ahead of time. Hope you have a wonderful evening there!

              3. Bucky, I am sorry I am posting to late to help you on this matter, but for the future you might want to consider a picnic, which I have done in the past. By the restaurant there are tables set up just for this purpose.
                I took champagne and three courses made by me and I felt almost royal with such a background view! The whole experience is marvelously romantic and I felt lost in the moment walking around with all the candlelight and music.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Cheriekiss

                  Where are the tables for picnicking?

                  Every time we've visited Vaux (which is regularly), it's made **extremely** clear (with abundant signage) that you are not welcome to picnic on the grounds, and that if you want to picnic, you need to trot your little self and your food across the road to the bus parking lot where there's a space for picnics.

                  No doubt it's to try to preserve the income for the restaurants, be it the ones in the gardens, or that overpriced, underperforming mess of a cafeteria in the stables -- but I'd be happy to hear this has changed.

                  from the website: http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/vis...

                  "1/ Are the visitors allowed to have a picnic in the garden?

                  No, picnics are not allowed inside the Estate.

                  But outside the Estate, near the car park, there is a sheltered area dedicated to the picnics.

                  Thus you can get out of the Estate to have your picnic (but you’ve got to tell the counter clerck – Please see the previous paragraph about the Visits / Ticket office (6))"

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    We have picnicked many times in that area indicated on the website. It's right in front of the castle. You walk beyond the parking area, uphill enough so you don't see the cars.
                    The nice picnic tables are always deserted. A great nearby market for picnic food is the Halle in Milly La Forêt.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Yep- I know where those are, Parigi (and it is nice...) -- just that Cheriekiss was saying you can picnic next to restaurant in the gardens, which is not the case. (Cheriekiss got enviably lucky, but others may not have the same experience)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Hi Sunshine!
                        The tables where we sat were near the entrance by their self service/resto L'Ecureuil.
                        There were loads of people there sitting outside. Perhaps they were not technically within the domain. . We just blended in! Try it out the next time.

                        1. re: Cheriekiss

                          Okay -- but it remains that what you did is against their regulations, and they have the right to kick you out without refunding your money.

                          Not recommended, and thanks, but I'll have my picnic up the hill with Parigi where you're supposed to.

                          (mostly, I wouldn't want anyone to think I was actually eating at L'Ecureuil -- you could lose your Chowhound permit for less)

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            "I'll have my picnic up the hill with Parigi where you're supposed to."

                            It's a great charming spot. Maybe we should keep it for ourselves. :-)

                            "(mostly, I wouldn't want anyone to think I was actually eating at L'Ecureuil -- you could lose your Chowhound permit for less)"

                            The chowhound police is esp active.

                            1. re: Parigi

                              Indeed -- we made that mistake years ago - before the picnic area was built -- thinking "how bad can it be"? The answer? Way worse than you could believe.

                              Blindingly expensive, and everything that makes a cafeteria a miserable choice for food - mediocre, industrial pap ladled onto a plate and warmed in the microwave, with a slice of rubbery industrial bread to make it all happy.

                2. OK, back from our trip and here's the report. Spoiler: disappointing, at least. But fun.

                  THE SUPPER

                  1. The supper is not served on the terrace, as the web site photos imply. It is now served in a purpose built covered pavilion at the end of a little lane at the chateau end of the garden. If you get a table near the front, you can sort of see the beginning of the garden, but none of the chateau. So no view of the candles, really.

                  2. We didn't realise it would still be so light at 8:00 pm in July. The outdoor candles we could see were barely noticeable during and for a while after supper!

                  3. Medium quality restaurant food. Obviously, given the speed with which it was served, mostly pre-prepared. I've just looked at the online menu and rats, I think our menu was somewhat different, so without notes, I can't now remember exactly what we had. But trust me, not worth going out of your way to have as a nice dinner.


                  THE EXPERIENCE

                  Our entry ticket for the candlelight visit allowed us to enter at 14:00 (2 pm, right?). So we made a day of it, and the day should have been longer! I had no idea how far away the end of the gardens are from the chateau. It would be an hour's walk, at least, given that one also has to detour around the Canal.

                  And it is only from the very end of the garden, on the hill of the Hercules statue, that one can really see the whole affair. The gardens are a series of terraces, getting LOWER as you go out. You have to go up on the hill to see all the terraces at once. Interesting. We could have rented one of the little electric golf carts and gotten out there, but by the time we rode the train from Paris, got the bus, looked through the chateau in daylight to be able to compare to the candlelight, and THEN walked through the gardens down as far as the canal and Cascade Fountain, while the fountains played, oops, time to go back to supper!

                  And then retour the chateau in candlelight after supper.

                  Loie and I enjoyed our day there immensely. Having the sit down supper was actually just the thing to help make it a full, rich day. If we had realized the extent of the gardens, we would have arrived earlier, at the stroke of 2:00 pm. Had thorough touring, eaten a nice --but not spectacular-- supper, and done the candlelight walking reasonably well fed.

                  I'll be happy to answer any questions about the actual meal, after looking over our pictures. And any other questions!

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: BuckyE

                    thanks so much for reporting back! It sounds like a fun experience even if the food wasn't great.

                    1. re: BuckyE

                      What time did you actually arrive at Vaux le Vicomte? We have a car and driver taking us out there and so won't have as long a transfer. We were thinking of getting there around 4:30, spending a few hours in the chateau and gardens, heading out to a nearby restaurant (off the grounds) and coming back for the candle time- perhaps having a glass of champagne . I thought of having dinner at Les Charmilles in the garden, but the description of the 'covered pavilion with little view of the garden' and the medium quality food, makes me think it would be worthwhile to go somewhere else. Especially since we have the driver at our disposal the whole day and evening. Your thoughts?

                      1. re: onthemap

                        Onthemap, I think your reasoning is excellent to arrive at 4:30pm and spend time in the gardens before dinner.
                        I also agree with your plans to eat in a restaurant off grounds! It is much better to eat elsewhere that will have a promise of better cuisine, than settle for industrialized food in a rushed setting.
                        Champagne was also available in the interior of the chateau too. With classical music in the background and the ever present candlelight, it will be a magical experience to transport you to another time. Enjoy!

                        1. re: Cheriekiss

                          Vaux is well outside Melun itself, with the closest restaurant being a Pizza Hut and a McDonald's in a commercial center several kilometres away.

                          You aren't going to have time to drive the half-hour back into the old part of Melun, have dinner, and make it back in time for the candlelight visit.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            There is a restaurant called Le Pouilly in Pouilly Le Fort, approximately 7 kilometers away, that has both Gault Millau and Michelin reccommendations. The chef Anthony Vallette was listed as " un grand de demain" (promising young chef) by Gault Millau in 2005. I would suggest that Onthemap investigate as it seems very reasonably close. The candlelights and program go on till past midnight, so even if somewhat late, he should have plenty of time to enjoy both.

                            1. re: Cheriekiss

                              They won't even be thinking of serving dinner until at least 7 pm, possibly 7:30....add in the 2 hours or more for a restaurant of that level, and you're at 9:30....not enough time to really see the chateau. (and the tours of the chateau end earlier than midnight - without looking, I'm thinking about 10-10:30 -- there are fireworks that continue until later, but you're going to be extremely pressed for time)

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                The candlelit part of the tour is astounding. The architecture and lighting were designed for candlelight and its infinite reflections in the mirrors. In candlelight, you see more instead of less.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Totally agree -- we've visited many times in the evenings in the summer just because it's so amazing to see a chateau illuminated the way it was illuminated "back then". Hot, though, if it's a muggy night.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I would add that Vaux is by far my favorite day-trip destination place any hour of the day, except as noted when it's stiflingly hot. And to stay on topic, it's a nice place to picnic as well.