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First, if you are using a car to get around the Ile-de-France and beyond, there is ample parking across from the Chateau (roads N56 and D2i5 for the 6km northeast from Melun). For trips from Paris, it now easy. The leg from the Melun station to and from the Chateau is now limitedly possible by a shuttle which runs only on Saturdays,Sundays and national holidays. See the Chateau's website (listed on our Things to Do Tip.This is a new innovation, better by far than finding a taxi or walking 6 km each way. Also there are now two train options: 1) SCNF trains (from Gare de Lyon) Transilien Paris-Lyon to station Melun-Avon. 2) RER Ligne D2 from and to the same places, although there are connections to the Gare de Lyon. The SCNF trains take from 24-27 minutes and the RER 48-51 or longer after midnight.(You should consult the website or someone who knows more). I am not experienced in suburban parisian trains but I have taken RER trains in wrong directions and have boarded wrong D trains, or bought insufficient zone tickets in the past. (This is another reason we like to stay outside of Paris, rent a car, and enjoy the real France. There is also a round trip from Parisvision.com that includes both Vaux and Fontainbleau with lots of time and includes both admissions and audioguides (40Euro) but only Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from Paris center.
Updated Aug 13, 2008
The Fouquet family's coat of arms features a squirrel and the motto "Quo non ascendet?" ("How far could it climb?"). You can find the squirrel in the decorations at Vaux le Vicomte. Foucquet means squirrel in the dialect of Angers, an area in the west part of France.
Kings and wealthy families usually select for their emblems ferocious animals-lions, bears, dragons, birds of prey. But the French? Francois I had a salamander, Louis XII had a porcupine and the Fouquets had the squirrel, perhaps the squirrels bred in the US are of inferior stock but when I think of squirrels I think of the suicidal rodents that constantly run into the street, pause, start running the other way, pause and then run right underneath my tires just in time for me to squish them.
Updated Nov 8, 2011