We’re in Bois-le-Roi (Forest of the King). This town of 5,500 people is about 35 minutes by train south of Paris, and is where our friends Mary and Gilles live; we’re staying at their house for a few days, until they kick us out.
Bois-le-Roi is an old village: Wikipedia says the town was first mentioned in documents in 1260. The king of the name was Saint Louis, who reigned from 1226 to 1270.
A most interesting aspect of Bois-le-Roi is that during the Belle Epoque (the Beautiful Age, generally the late 1800s until the start of World War I), a number of beautiful summer houses were built along the banks of the Seine in Bois-le-Roi. These houses are called affolantes, which translates in this sense as something along the lines of “craziness,” reflecting that these houses of the Belle Epoque ultra-rich were just crazy…and they are. Here are the best of les affolantes in Bois-le-Roi.
The building below has an interesting history: built in the late 1800s in a town north of Paris, it burned around the turn of the century. The facade and some of the rest of the house did not burn, and the untouched parts were taken apart, transported to the site on which they now sit, and reconstructed while the rest of the house was built around them.
Nice houses, but I suspect they are nightmares to maintain. Many have large, beautiful gardens and all have views over the river.
Late today, we’re off to Paris for a couple days. The weather is supposed to be good (since we arrived last Friday, the forecast has predicted rain every day and yesterday it finally rained a bit after five days of sunshine – though it’s been cold). We are looking forward to seeing our favorite city.