"Night of the Muses" - 2,000 candles, fireworks and champagne at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Fireworks at Vaux le Vicomte castle. Photo credit: Stéphane.

Decision, decisions, decisions. Perhaps one of the most difficult things about living in Paris is that there's always so much going on that it's hard to choose what to do. Take last Saturday as an example - the dilemma of the day was deciding if we should celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Velib bike sharing program on the Champs-Élysées, watch the Euro-Cup quarterfinal soccer game between France and Spain on the big screen at Trocadero, see the seven-time World Champion pétanque player in action at the Hôtel de Ville or go to the candlelight evening at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte.

"Night of the Muses" at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte. Photo credit: Stéphane.

As it was also "Night of the Muses", an annual fundraising event when people bring their dinner in elegant picnic baskets and compete for a prize for the most beautiful table decorations, Stéphane and I opted to check out the competition at the castle so that we'll know what to expect if we participate next year. After dining on the terrace overlooking the gardens that served as the inspiration for those at Versailles, we arrived at the Great Water Mirror in time to watch the judges evaluate the elaborate decorations.

Some people went all out with blue decorations, drinks and even blue bread!

According to the rules, participants had two hours to adorn the tables with cloths, dishes, candle holders, dinner and wine in keeping with the theme "Water" (blue and white). A rectangular table and chairs were provided. In all honestyI'm not sure how the judges could pick a winner because it was a real challenge selecting the photos for today's post. Here are just some of the decorations that impressed me.

Please click on the photos to enlarge. Take a look at the cakes in the background.
One table even had a small fountain with blue water.

I like the elegant simplicity of this table. Plus, they went the extra step and covered their chairs with lace and material.
Sophisticated and silly! Pommery champagne and candy Smurfs. 
I'm fairly sure that I wouldn't have thought to bring a flower arrangement...
And I'm positive that I would have never thought to make blue hard boiled eggs like the ones at the end of this table.

Even though Stéphane and I have visited Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte on several occasions, there's something even more magical about being there on a summer evening. As the sun set over the gardens, the flickering lights of 2,000 candles created a magical effect that gave us an inkling of how Nicolas Fouquet's guests must have felt when they were invited to the festivities held in honor of King Louis XIV on August 17, 1661.

As for the Eurocup match between Spain and France, Stéphane was happy to have cell phone reception so that he could follow the score. With hindsight, it's better that we didn't watch the quarterfinals at Trocadero because we heard that the police used tear gas on the crowd when some of the fans started getting rowdy after Spain scored a second goal.

Candlelight evenings at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte are held every Saturday from May 5 to October 6, 2012. Fireworks are on the first and third Saturday of the month during the Candlelight evenings.

Fireworks and 2,000 candles at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

Comments

  1. That evening looked beautiful! Do you think you'll join the competition next year? I'm toying with the idea of entering a local competition, but very nervous to do so!

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    1. After seeing the photo of the horse that you made, you've got me curious about what type of competition you might enter next year - I'm betting that it's either for margaritas or something crafty!

      As for participating in next year's "Night of the Muses", I think that we will. We would have this year but we didn't have enough time to prepare anything. Plus, all of the money goes to maintain the castle so it's for a good cause...and you can't beat having dinner in such a gorgeous setting!

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  2. Replies
    1. With all of the candles, it was like a fairyland!

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  3. Wow, these are such whimsical and creative displays. That mini fountain is darling. I would be way to intimidated to enter this contest!

    Looks like a great time.

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    1. Even though it was obvious that most people had put quite a bit of thought and effort into how to decorate their tables, everyone was lighthearted and having a good time. It didn't feel intimidating or competitive, which was good because otherwise I wouldn't feel like doing it next year.

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  4. Dear Mary Kay,
    Your posts always make me smile. Having moved to Paris last year from Switzerland I totally agree that it is so difficult to choose what to do. Paris as so much to offer and you seem to be in the thick of it. I love your photos and have been following your blog for a few weeks. Maybe we can cheer Roger Federer on together next year at Roland Garros! ;)

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    1. It's a date! Bring your Swiss flag to Roland Garros and we'll cheer together. Stephane and I felt a bit outnumbered by all of the French fans when Wawrinka played against Tsonga!

      If you moved to Paris last year, we must have arrived at about the same time. I just checked your blog - you arrived a bit before us because we moved here at the end of February.

      I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

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  5. Beautiful pictures! Participants attired in various shades of blue also added to a lovely sight!

    Patricia H

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    1. Thanks, Pat! I also liked seeing all of the different shades of blue - it looked good from a distance and even better as we got closer to the tables. With hindsight, I should have posted some photos of the women who were wearing blue hats.

      I hope that you had a pleasant journey home. It was real pleasure to meet you while you were in Paris!

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  6. Uh, I hate to bust their bubble, the party was absolutely gorge, and all, but I am the only one who noticed that the water at Vaux, is, uhm, well green??? Bises. S

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    1. Bust my bubble - no way!

      But come to think of it, maybe that's why they had to specify that the colors were blue and white! ;)

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  7. Looks like you made the right decision!!! The photos are gorgeous and as always, you never cease to amaze me with the activities you find to do in this city!!!

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    1. Yeah, we were happy that we didn't watch the soccer game at Trocadero. That would have been an entirely different experience!

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  8. What a wonderful night out!

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