B, D, and K all braved the Paris metro system to travel to Vaux, a chateau 45 minutes outside the city. This chateau supposedly inspired Louis XIV to turn Versailles from a hunting lodge into the palace that replaced the Louvre as the royal residence. It is also the place that got the owner tossed in jail for the rest of his life for showing up the king’s country digs. The tour was amazing, at least in part because there were no crowds. Compared to the throngs at the Louvre and the mass of humanity at Versailles, Vaux was serene and peaceful. Vaux’s original owner (Fouquet) and his team (an architect, an artist/decorator, and a landscape designer) are credited with several major innovations, including the first formal, “sculpted” gardens and the first room to be designated as a dinning room (before Vaux, when it was time to eat, tables were set up wherever people were gathered).