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If you don’t want to contend with the long lines of tourists at Versailles, you should go visit the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, about 35 miles southeast of Paris. Louis XIV’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, had it built for himself from 1658 to 1661. However, the king, seeing the splendid chateau and the lavish lifestyle of Fouquet, suspected him of embezzling funds, had him imprisoned, and shut down the chateau. But it gave him the ideas for Versailles.

Louis XIV ordered the same architect (Louis Le Vau), landscape architect (André le Nôtre), and painter decorator (Charles Le Brun) to design and help him build Versailles. In many ways, Vaux-le-Vicomte is a smaller but just as impressive version of Versailles, and it certainly did not disappoint us when we went there.

Vaux-le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte

This next picture shows the stables of the chateau.

Vaux-le-Vicomte Stables

Vaux-le-Vicomte Stables

By the luck of random drawing, I was allowed to go up into the chateau’s cupola and took the following picture of the gardens.

Vaux-le-Vicomte gardens

Vaux-le-Vicomte gardens

Here’s an inside look at the cupola wooden support structure.

Vaux-le-Vicomte underside of cupola

Vaux-le-Vicomte underside of cupola

There were many design drawings hung on the walls, among which was this one for the cupola.

Vaux-le-Vicomte cupola design drawing

Vaux-le-Vicomte cupola design drawing

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