Blame It on Sébastien

Blame It on Sébastien

Okay, now, I don’t want anyone to hyperventilate or anything, but…

Sébastien thought of YOU. Yes, he did. That is, he thought of the females among you. While we were in France, he went out of his way to take a particular set of pictures in your honor.

We were at Vaux-le-Vicomte, which I always love to visit, and if you never have, here’s a strong recommend that you put that on your list for your (next?) trip to France. If you have ever seen a film set in a 17th or 18th century French château, and you probably have (Three Musketeers, if nothing else), then you have seen this place. There’s a reason all the movies are set there.


The magnificent gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte extend about a kilometer, sloping up a hill to the GINORMOUS replica of the Farnese Hercules.

(On a side note, can I vent about “ginormous” being added to the dictionary? I protest, seriously. And I feel that if you are going to add something as clearly silly as “ginormous”, you should put in NEFARIETY while you’re at it. THAT is a good word.)

When I say “ginormous”, here’s a shadowy picture provided to give you a sense of scale. You can see the forearm of someone else taking a picture and how the statue looms over him.


Now…how to put this?

Hercules is quite…herculean…in…every aspect, if you will. That is, he is very well-proportioned, but since he is the size of Hercules, his proportions are….well, anyway. When you’re standing under this looming statue craning your neck to look up at it–maybe it’s just me, but there’s one thing that…stands out.

As I am innocently playing with my daughter in the grass, I notice Sébastien walking around that gigantic statue, zooming in and taking pictures.

I have a suspicion.

I say, “What are you taking pictures of?” I mean, it’s not like he’s been going around taking pictures of any other statues we have run into in France.

“What?” he asks innocently. “It’s for the ladies that read your blog!”

I examine his recent pictures.� My jaw drops. “I’m not putting that on my blog! I’ll get in trouble.”

Sébastien looks aggravated. “It’s a copy of an ancient statue.”

“Yeah, well, you are focusing excessively on a certain aspect of it.”

Sébastien wrinkles his eyebrows. “So? It’s just a natural part of life. Plus, it’s great art.”

Well, yes. That’s the French attitude. But it’s not the typical American one. And I want to keep this blog PG-13, and I’m not entirely sure where world famous works of art fall under peoples’ tolerances. There was a period when they got draped in cloth, after all.

So what we have now is a compromise. Here is one side of the statue, from Sébastien.


The other side I’m keeping just for me.

  • I loved Vaux-le-Vicomte!
    And of course I remember that statue from all angles…
    I must go back to Vaux-le-Vicomte, said Rebecca…
    Name the book!

    August 2, 2007 at 9:26 am
  • Oh, you tease. Well that is quite a backside, though. Thank Se’bastien for thinking of your dear readers ;- ) I can only imaging standing under that statue and looking up. Well it would be quite “oh my goodness” !!!!!!! Clarice

    August 2, 2007 at 9:31 am
  • Can you email it to us privately? 🙂 I remember being awed at David in Florence. Is this even more impressive? By the way, I do like how that Sébastien’s mind works.

    August 2, 2007 at 10:17 am
  • I’ll bet nobody called this boy ‘crevette’!!!
    Remember an old commercial in an abbey where two young nuns found that one of the statues had lost a certain piece? So they picked it up and gingerly carried it in to the nun mother who got out some superglue…walked down the corridor and stuck it back on UPSIDE DOWN. The two young nuns waited for her to leave then knowingly corrected it!
    Thanks to Sebastien for thinking of us 🙂 Steer him towards Laduree for me…

    August 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm
  • Three cheers for Sébastien!!! That guy’s got really NICE legs too. Only, I don’t think I can use this picture as a convincing argument for Ken to take me to Paris.

    August 2, 2007 at 1:32 pm
  • I don’t believe Sébastien was thinking of us at all. If he were, there would be chocolate somewhere in that picture, and there is none. Hmph.

    August 2, 2007 at 4:39 pm
  • Sarah

    When I was in Germany last year, we went to Kassel, and we saw another replica of that VERY SAME STATUE. I knew I’d seen it before! The one in Kassel is very very very high up, too. The whole area around it is really cool, so if you’re ever in Germany, I recommend visiting it.

    Anyway, I thought your whole story was hilarious, because, well…we took similar pictures. In fact, we went one better to your backside picture up there. The one that I have also features the (clothed) backside of my German friend Stefan, in a comparison shot. Who knew that so many people have the same reaction to that statue?

    August 2, 2007 at 4:50 pm
  • I am guessing Rebecca, but with “manderley” instead of Vaux-le-Vicomte. Is that right? I shall now confess that I have NEVER READ Rebecca, which is a very dangerous thing to admit in the bibliophile world and might possibly get me stoned. Use chocolate stones, please!

    Ladurée, hmm. I might have some Ladurée for Phyllis and, coincidentally, chocolate for Alala up my sleeve. Isn’t that the greatest misuse of the word “coincidentally” you have ever read?

    Sarah, I believe I may have another shot to share with you. I shall have to hunt for it, though. It’s an older shot from before the days of digital, but it’s one of my personal favorites.

    I haven’t seen that commercial, Phyllis! It sounds hilarious!

    And everyone, you have to quit encouraging Sébastien. 🙂

    August 2, 2007 at 7:55 pm
  • Nice butt. But, it has to be said – The caption should have read “Does this picture make my a** look big?”

    August 2, 2007 at 8:07 pm
  • Party pooper!! 😉

    August 2, 2007 at 11:40 pm
  • Big meanie! 😉

    I suppose I’ll just have to settle for his enormous hands then….

    August 3, 2007 at 4:09 am
  • Ha, ha, Laume! You are so right. Why didn’t I think of that?

    I think one of the earliest copies of the Farnese is in Italy, Sognatrice. 🙂 So, you know…you could always go check for yourself. But when I compared photos, the one at Vaux-le-Vicomte looks like they muscled him up a bit from earlier versions. I like the Vaux-le-Vicomte one better. IN TERMS OF MUSCLES. Just in case that wasn’t clear….

    August 3, 2007 at 6:55 am
  • ooh la la! Merci to Sebastien for thinking of the ladies. This Ginormous Hercules has made my morning:)

    August 3, 2007 at 8:42 am

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