The magnificent Castillo de Chapultepec is surrounded by 1,695 acres of trees and wildlife on a high hill in the heart of Mexico City.
I boarded the small tram in the middle of Chapultepec Park in downtown Mexico City, the former home of Mexican Emperor Maximilian.
At first glance, the gorgeous old French Colonial building appears like something out of a movie. Which, surprisingly, we learn it was during a scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
Inside the grand entrance, the massive staircase, the beautiful stained glass and the authentic chariots all appear as if time hasn’t passed and we’re awaiting Emperor Maximilian’s arrival. The group strolls through the first level while Alfredo shows us the mural paintings above the 23-caret gold accents along the staircase. The ”Retablo de la Independencia” mural by Juan O’Gorman is overwhelming to view with all of the intricate detail.
Up on the second level, the marble bathtubs, two Baby Grand pianos, large oak dining table and red velvet wallpaper have been lovingly preserved. In the center courtyard there is a tower where, according to Alfredo, Galileo once mapped the universe. The stone tower is so high that we’re blinded by the sun as our eyes blink towards the swaying Mexican flag at the top.
The upper levels have been enclosed partially with glass walls to protect the historic landmark, and there are some great walkways for casual networking among the pretty gardens.