Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
January 5, 2002
From journal Castle of Vaux-Le-Vicomte
Form the "Les Boulingrin" part of the garden, you will enjoy mixed color (green and red). By going at the end of the garden, you will be surprised by the apparition of "the Grand Canal" which can only be seen at the end of the walk.
August 1, 2001
So, been to Versailles and done that? Visit the chateau that inspired Versailles and its gardens ("inspired" is a nice way of putting it, given Vaux-Le-Vicomte's tragic history).
The story goes like this: Nicolas Fouquet was a finance superintendent (like a treasurer) under Louis XIV. He decided to build a home worthy of such a high position in the king's court and hired the most talented architects, painters and landscape designers France had to offer. Upon completion of the project, he threw a lavish housewarming party to which he invited the king. The king, outraged that such a chateau should better any of his own, had Fouquet arrested 2 weeks later by the famous musketeer D’Artagnan on trumped up charges of embezzlement (even if he had "mismanaged" the king’s funds, it was no different than what any of the other ministers had done). The chateau and all of its contents were seized (with the exception of two tables, which you can still see), as well as the builders and architects who worked on the chateau (they promptly went to work on Versailles). Fouquet spent the next 3 years defending himself, at the end of which he was exiled. But, that wasn’t good enough for the king. Louis changed the sentence to life imprisonment in solitary confinement. The morals of the story? 1. Don't steal from the king. 2. If you do, don't invite him over for dinner!
While the front of the chateau is very striking, the real showpiece is the Baroque-style backside of the building and its uncrowded gardens. Clearly the nobility spent more time back here than the front. The interior is furnished with period pieces, but none of these are original, expect those two left-behind tables. You can even see an unfinished ceiling painting, the result of the artist being torn away and made to work on Versailles.
The property covers over 100 acres and golf carts are available for rental to visit the grounds. It is a very popular locale for weddings (I saw three taking place during my visit!) The fountains show off from 3-6 pm on the 2nd & last Saturday of the month. There are also evening candlelight concerts every Thursday and Saturday, May to October.
Part of the reason there aren't huge roving crowds, like at Versailles, is that the chateau is a bit of a challenge to get to. The easiest way to get to there (35 miles outside of Paris) is to take a day tour by tour companies such as Paris-Vision or to rent a car. For the adventurous, there’s the not-so-direct public transportation: train from Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Melun or by RER D, from Paris (Chatelet) to Melun. Across from the station at Melun in front of a pharmacy and a restaurant, a Châteaubus shuttle will take you to the chateau. The shuttle schedule is sporatic, so plan accordingly. Their web site is www.vaux-le-vicomte.com. Phone:
From journal Alt.Paris (Alternative Paris)