PARIS HOTEL

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Inspiration for Versailles
55 km southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne
SIGHTS CHATEAU DE VAUX LE VICOMTE
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a French Baroque château located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 km southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France. It was built from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle-Isle (Belle-Ile-en-Mer), Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was in many ways the most influential work built in Europe in the mid-17th century, the finest house in France built after the Château de Maisons. Here, together with the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of a new order: the magnificent manner that is associated with the "Louis XIV style" involving a system of collective work, which could be applied to the structure, its interiors and works of art and the creation of an entire landscape. Vaux-le-Vicomte is one of Europe's finest construction of its kind.

Le Nôtre's garden was the dominant structure of the great complex. The château rises on an elevated platform, opened in the middle of the woods, and marks the border between unequal spaces, treated in a different way. The site, unlike Versailles, was naturally well-watered, with two small rivers that met in the park; the canalized bed of one forms the Grand Canal.

History :

Once a small château located between the royal residences of Vincennes and Château de Fontainebleau, the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte was purchased by Nicolas Fouquet in 1641. at that time he was an ambitious twenty-six year-old member of the Parlement of Paris,

Fifteen years later, Fouquet was King Louis XIV's superintendent of finances (finance minister) and construction began on what was then the finest château and garden in France. This achievement was brought about through the collaboration of the three men of genius whom Fouquet had chosen for the task: the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun and the landscape architect André Le Nôtre.

The château and its patron became for a short time a great center of fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. In the inauguration of Fouquet's Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event, organized by Vatel, and showing an impressive firework show.

The château was lavish, refined, and dazzling to behold, but rich in hidden drama. Indeed, the King had Fouquet arrested shortly after a famous fête that took place on August 17, 1661, with Molière's play 'Les Fâcheux'. The celebration had been too impressive and the superintendent's home too luxurious, and Jean-Baptiste Colbert had pushed the king to believe that his minister's magnificence was funded by the misappropriation of public funds. Fouquet was arrested by Colbert, who would replace him as superintendent of finances. Later Voltaire was to sum up the famous fête thus: "On 17 August, at six in the evening Fouquet was the King of France: at two in the morning he was nobody." La Fontaine wrote describing the fête, and shortly afterwards penned his Elégie aux nymphes de Vaux.

After Nicolas Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The King seized, confiscated,

and occasionally purchased, 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-vicomte: Versailles, which would be changed sequentially by the greatest architects, like Jules-Hardouin Mansart and Ange-Jacques Gabriel, increasing its size, until the French Revolution.

Madame Fouquet recovered her property ten years later and retired there with her eldest son. After her husband's death in 1680, her son died too. In 1705 she decided to put Vaux-le-Vicomte up for sale.

The Maréchal de Villars became the new owner although he had never even set eyes on the place. In 1764 the Maréchal's son sold the estate to the Duke of Praslin, whose descendants were to maintain the property for over a century. The château was the scene of a vicious murder in the 1840s, when the current duc de Choiseul-Praslin killed his wife in her bedroom there. After a thirty-year period of neglect, it was put up for sale.

In 1875, Alfred Sommier acquired Vaux-le-Vicomte at a public auction. The château was empty, some of the outbuildings had fallen into ruin, and the famous gardens were totally overgrown. The huge task of restoration and refurbishment began under the direction of the renowned architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur. When Sommier died in 1908, the château and the gardens had recovered their original appearance. His son, Edme Sommier, and his daughter-in- law completed the task. Today, his descendants continue to work on the preservation of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The château remains a private property— owned by the comte de Vogüé— but, named by the state a monument historique, it welcomes visitors.

Character

Like many châteaux in the north of France, Vaux is surrounded on three sides by a rectangular moat, with the axial arrival avenue continued across a bridge to the open forecourt. The structure is symmetrical and tightly integrated, with a slightly projecting central block and end pavillions, with two returned wings that project forward. Traditional tall slate roofs emphasize each structural element with a pyramidal cap.

At the rear, the structure is dominated by the projection of its central oval salon which rises the full height of the house, under an oval dome. The house dominates its ordered landscape that is carved out of the dense surrounding woods, with a balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks, and patterned parterres that remains more coherent than the vast display Le Nôtre was to create at Versailles.

Practical information
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
The Inspiration for Versailles
55 km southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne

Going there
Distance from Paris : 55 km by road, 30 minutes. By train
From Gare de Lyon in Paris : 25 minutes to the station of Melun, New : Chateaubus shuttle.
RER D from Paris (Le Chatelet) to Melun station. From Melun station to the chateau : 6 km by taxi or with the Chateaubus shuttle.

From Airports :
Charles de Gaulle 60 minutes (60 km), Orly 40 minutes (40 km).
Shuttle Chateaubus Melun station - Vaux le Vicomte
Chateaubus shuttle Melun station - Vaux le Vicomte

Taxis
Are available at Melun train station

DOWNLOAD MAP PARIS IN HIGH QUALITY PDF /
secure payment by paypal

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL PARIS LOUVRE PARIS
SAINT CHAPELLE PARIS EIFFEL TOWER PARIS
OPERA GARNIER PARIS ARC DE TRIOMPHE PARIS
MOULIN ROUGE CABARET PARIS SACRE COEUR PARIS
HOTEL DE VILLE PARIS NAPOLEAN'S TOMB PARIS
MUSEE ORSAY PARIS LOIRE VALLEY
MAP TOURISM PARIS

...or select your hotel close to your favorite place in Paris.

01 Paris: Louvre Museum - Notre dame Cathedral - Banks of the River Seine - Chatelet Tower - Place Vendome - Le Palais Royal - Le Louvre - L'orangerie - Pont Neuf - Pont de La Concorde - Le quartier Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois - Pont-Neuf aux Tuileries

02 Paris: Paris Stock Exchange - Textile district - L'Opera Garnier - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - Bourse - La Tour Jean-sans-Peur

03 Paris: Picasso museum - Centre Georges Pompidou - Republique - Conservatoire des Arts et Metier

04 Paris: Old Marais district - Modern Art museum - City Hall - Ile de La Cite; - La place des Vosges - L'Hotel de Ville - Notre Dame de Paris - La Conciergerie - La crypte archeologique - La Maison de Victor Hugo - La Sainte Chapelle - Pont de Sully

05 Paris: Pantheon - Botanical Gardens - Saint-Germain-des-Pres - Notre dame de Paris - Eglise de Saint Germain - Saint Michel - La mosquee de Paris - L'ile de la Cite; - L'Ile Saint-Louis - Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve - La crypte archeologique - La Sainte Chapelle - La Conciergerie - Les Arenes Lutece - Jardin des Plantes - Pont Neuf - Pont d'Austerlitz - Pont de Sully

06 Paris: Saint Germain des Pres - Latin Quarter - Luxembourg Gardens - La Tour Montparnasse - Musee d'Orsay - Palais / Jardin du Luxembourg - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Observatoir de Paris

07 Paris: Eiffel Tower - Marais - Orsay Museum - Invalides (Napoleon's resting place) - Champs de Mars - L'UNESCO - Ecole Militaire - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides - Pont de L'Alma

08 Paris: Champs Elysees - Arc of Triumph - Elysees Palace - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - L'Opera Garnier - Le quartier de la defense - L'eglise Russe - L'orangerie - Place de La Madeleine - Boulevard Haussmann - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides

09 Paris: Opera House - Saint Lazare Train Station La butte Montmartre - Moulin Rouge - Galeries Lafayette - Musee de la Vie Romantique - Le quartier de la Nouvelle Athenes - Gare Saint Lazare

10 Paris: Est Train Station - Nord Train Station - Saint Martin canal - Place de la Republique

11 Paris: Republique Plaza - Leather district - La place des Vosges - Bastille - Cimetiere Pere Lachaise - Boulevard Belleville

12 Paris: New Opera House - Nation Plaza - Vincennes Park - Gare de Lyon - Le Viaduc des Arts - Le Parc de Bercy - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Pont d'Austerlitz

13 Paris: French National Library - Chinatown - Croulebarbe aux Gobelins - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Orly - Le quartier de la Butte-aux-Cailles - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Parc de Montsouris - Observatoire de Paris

14 Paris: Montparnasse Train Station - Observatory - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Parc de Montsouris

15 Paris: Vaugirard Street - Beaugrenelle Antiques Area - La Tour Montparnasse - Paris Expo / Porte de Versailles - Ecole Militaire - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetierre de Grenelle - Cimetiere du Montparnasse

16 Paris: Trocadero Plaza - Boulogne Park - Parc des Princes - Stade Roland Garros - Champs de Mars - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot - Promenade Hector Guimard et l'Art Nouveau - Le quartier de la defense - Auteuil - Musee d'art Moderne - Palais Chaillot - Bois de Boulogne - Pont de L'Alma - Pont de Grenelle - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetiere de Grenelle

17 Paris: Wagram - Ternes - Jacquemin Museum - Le quartier de la Defense - Sacre-Coeur - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot

18 Paris: Montmartre Hill (home of Amelie Poulain) - Church of the Sacred Heart - Moulin Rouge - Stade de France - La Basilique Saint-Denis - Gare du Nord - Roissy Charle de Gaulle

19 Paris: Villette Techno Park - Buttes Chaumont Park - Geode - Zenith - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville

20 Paris: Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Jim Morrison's resting place) - Place de La Nation - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville

92 Paris: Parc des Expositions - Parc de Sceaux - Issy-les-Moulineaux - Roland Garros - La Defense

93 Paris: Eurodisney Park