This exquisite chateau was commissioned by Nicolas Fou-quet, Louis XTV’s Minister of Finance, and assembled by the triumvirate of Le Vau, Le Bran, and Le Notre (architect, artist, and landscaper). The king got jealous and, after Fouquet threw a legendary party to celebrate the completion of the chateau, had him arrested and imprisoned for life. The gardens and the inside of the palace are both spectacular. (01 64 14 41 90; www.vaux-le-vicomte.com. Open Mar. 23-Nov. 11 daily 10am-6pm; visits by appointment for groups of 20 or more the rest of the year. Admission to chateau, gardens, and carriage museum 12; students and seniors 9.50.) Trains run to Melun from Chatelet-Les Hailes or Gare de Lyon (45min.; round-trip 13.40). Then take a taxi (at least 15) to the chateau. Be sure to ask the driver to meet you back at the chateau at a certain time, or pay 20 centimes for the staff at the exit to phone for you.