Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Some time in the early 1990s, Ken and I visited the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte. We saw the interior rooms that were open to the public and, of course, the gardens. The château and its gardens were the inspiration for much of the château at Versailles. The story is famous: King Louis XIV's finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, had the elaborate estate built. When it was complete, he held several grand parties, including one in the honor of the king. The king was outraged that one of his ministers had a more opulent palace than he, and he later had Fouquet arrested and confiscated the estate as well as Fouquet's wealth. He then engaged the same architects and designers who built Vaux-le-Vicomte to take over the design and construction of the palace at Versailles. Among them are some of the most famous names of the time: Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and André Le Nôtre.

The southern façade of the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte near Melun, outside of Paris.
Digitized color slide, early 90s.

Fortunately for us, the château survived the turmoil and the revolution and has been maintained and restored as necessary since. I would like to go back one day as my memories are a little fuzzy. I have a few photos, but not many.


  1. I only learned that story a few years ago. Wonderful to see the photo.

  2. The chateau is suberb. I didn’t go inside, but strolled in the well tended gardens up to the enlarged copy of the Farnese Hercules. The original is in the National Archeological Museum in Naples, Italy (not Florida!).

  3. The actress Eva Longoria rented this out for her wedding reception to that French basketball player, on 7-7-2007 :) The marriage didn't last more than a few years.
    I visited this on a trip to Paris, but it was difficult and expensive to get to, without a car.

    1. Yes, Tony Parker; I just heard a bit about him and his young basketball players he has encouraged! He is Belge.

  4. I love those swans a swimming!

  5. I really enjoyed visiting this chateau. My French friend, Danielle, and I also climbed to the top of the dome. The view was gorgeous.

  6. Walt, it is time for you and Ken to resume life. Why not make a one-day, weekend visit soon to Vaux-le-Vicomte? Up at the crack of dawn and return home in the dusk. Roderick

  7. That history is such a terrible tidbit to add to all the good things I've learned about Louis XlV. Perhaps our former prez got some of his revengeful qualities by hearing that story (although we know he didn't read about it! ) Another place I've wanted to visit. They celebrate the Christmas holidays with quite a celebration, with fireworks, people in costume and lots of la-di-dah!

  8. mitch, those royals. You can't trust 'em.

    chm, the inside is beautiful, but I don't have any photos!

    judy, we did go with a car, whichever year it was. As with a lot of châteaux, it's pretty far from transit.

    evelyn, ha!

    bettyann, oh, that sounds like fun!

    roderick, alas, we can't take the dog with us, and we don't leave her. We do take her when we go to holiday homes, but we haven't done that since covid. Maybe next year.

    mary, LOL!


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