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It was gorgeous again today so I decided on an outing from An Hour From Paris: Château d’Écouen and the Musée national de la Renaissance. I was able to buy my ticket from a SNCF Transilien machine like a cool kid with my Andrews Federal Credit Union chip-and-pin card, not to be confused with the chip-and-signature cards that U.S. banks are rolling out. I approached the Château, as the book suggested, via a mile-long forest path. It was a lovely walk, down a sun-dappled track, to the accompaniment of beautiful bird song.

The Route du Pré Cure, leading to the gate of the domain of the Château d'Ecouen.

The Route du Pré Cure, leading to the gate of the domain of the Château d’Ecouen.

I was a bit underwhelmed, however, by the Château itself, and the collection of the Musée national de la Renaissance. Yes, the Château would be spectacular anywhere else, but it doesn’t stand out among its peers here.

The Château d'Ecouen affords some nice views over the valley.

The Château d’Ecouen affords some nice views over the valley.

It does boast a lovely, recently-restored chapel.

The chapel of the Château d'Ecouen.

The chapel of the Château d’Ecouen.

But the only item in the collection that strongly attracted me was this sculpture, which isn’t even French.

Daphne at the moment of her transformation into a laurel tree to escape the unwanted attention of Apollo. Wenzel Jamnitzer, Nuremburg, around 1570.

Daphne at the moment of her transformation into a laurel tree to escape the unwanted attention of Apollo. Wenzel Jamnitzer, Nuremburg, around 1570.

I have often observed that certain Paris museums are like attics, in which all the cool stuff of a certain type is collected: musée de Cluny for medieval stuff, musée des arts et métiers for science and tech stuff, musée Carnavalet for Paris stuff. But so many items in this museum seemed to be cast-offs from more famous Paris peers, especially Cluny and the Louvre.

Even the museum café was a bit of a let-down. The service and ambiance were fine, but the food was boring and overpriced.

Bottom line: it was a pleasant enough way to spend an afternoon, but one can do better in Paris, and certainly within an hour’s travel.

Mot du jour: dac-o-dac. This basically means “okey-dokey,” i.e. a jokey way of saying “ok” or “agreed.” Zhizhong taught me to text dac instead of spelling out d’accord, which means “agreed.” When I tried it out on Antoine he came back with dac-o-dac. Then Lisa added the fact that dac has a slightly preppy resonance, which Antoine may have been reacting to. You’re only starting to learn a language when you know the literal meanings of the words!