We all have too much stuff. You realize this when you’re going through the moving process. But out of all the stuff, there’s always one thing without which you cannot live. And you only know it when she’s gone. The movers came this week to move a bunch of our stuff from one apartment to another one – and after everything was packed up, carted off, and swallowed up into the belly of a container, we looked around our empty apartment.
It was only later in the evening, chatting over dinner, that panic struck: “Where’s Grace?”
“Grace?” Chris asked.
“I didn’t see Grace anywhere when the movers came. She wasn’t in the storage area!”
I was referring to my Grace Jones poster entitled “One Man Show” which I’ve carted around since 1986 from Florida to New York to France. Grace was MIA. One thing you have to realize about apartment living – in Paris – and elsewhere – is the no-man’s land that it the storage area – you think you ‘own’ it – but you don’t. Even when there’s a lock, you can be gone for a few months, and locks disappear, storage areas get usurped like mining rights in the gold fields.
That was the beginning of the week. Before Chris saved the day, tracked down the maintenance manager. He appeared at a front door, escorted me into the depths of the apartment cellars – and in a storage area – another storage area, there was Grace propped up against a wall. She stares defiantly with a cigarette hanging from her mouth – like a forgotten appendage.
What better way to celebrate rediscovering misplaced Grace than by watching “A View to a Kill” with Roger Moore and Christopher Walken? If you have not seen Grace Jones parachute off of the Eiffel Tower in her 80’s hooded garb, you have missed one of the great Eiffel Tower chase sequences. But there’s another reason you need to see this vintage Bond from the vintage Eighties. That would be to savor Le Chateau de Chantilly.
It’s a shame that more visitors to Paris don’t get to Chantilly which is most noted for its ornate stables. Unlike Versailles, le Chateau de Chantilly’s is much less rigid – it’s sense of luxury much more like a private hideaway than a formal place to see and be seen. I’ve seen “A View to a Kill” a number of times, but this is the first time, I looked closely at the interiors – there is a scene of Bond’s valet (played by former Avenger) throwing a suitcase on the most exquisitely hand-painted bed. How many museum curators and interior decorators have winced at that scene, I wonder? I hope it wasn’t an original from the Chateau! (For Marie Antoinette, the film director made sure that all furniture actually used on location were contemporary pieces that had been upholstered with material from the time period to avoid any risk of damage to museum pieces).
Ideally if you have the opportunity to visit both Versailles and Chantilly, that would be my suggestion, but if you would like to avoid Versailles crowds (particularly during the summer months), Chantilly is a worthy choice. As one former U.S. president said, he wished he had seen Chantilly sooner. For many, it comes as a surprise that there could be so many extraordinary chateaux in such close vicinity to Paris.
As for Grace, she is currently placed in a spot where she can be viewed for a thrill.