We drove through the Picardie forest to get there, little more than an hour to completely displace, city to countryside. Riders were out wearing french horns draped across their chests, horses in gallop with a pack of hunting dogs trailing behind. They tipped their tall hats as we rolled past the storybook scene.
Gothic flourishes introduce nightmarish creatures to keep guard of Chateau Pierrefonds.
The rooms were intricately painted with animals, dancing goddesses and plants in a rainbow of contrasting colors and stripes, though the castle was nearly bare of furniture or other embellishment.
Admission is free until August 2008 while the French government monitors attendance so visit before then.