Vaux Le Vicomte

Château de Vaux-Le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte is the castle which was built by Nicola Fouquet, who was the Lord high treasurer of Louis XIV in the 17th century. The castle is known as one of the most modern and elegant masterpieces that none of other royal properties could compete with. The young Sun King was so irritated by Fouquet’s fortune and condemned him to life imprisonment. Versailles Place was then built based on the great inspiration from Vaux-le_Vicomte.

How to Get to Vaux-Le-Vicomte

Taking RER D at Metro Chatret or at Gare de Lyon, you reach the terminal station Melun, and there goes a shuttle bus to the castle. It costs 7 euro for a round-trip ticket, and the bus is available only on weekends between April and October. If you need more details, check their official site. It is a 20-minute ride from Melun station to the castle.

click to enlarge

The interior of the castle

Les Charmilles
First you see in the compound a castle restaurant open on weekdays between May and October. Weather permitting, it will be nice having lunch under the sun.

The Carriage Museum
Farther you walk on, you’ll hit the building which exhibits a collection of horse carriages. The yellow carriage you see in the photo below is the one which is specially designed to contain game after hunting. All carriages are taken good care of and shiny.

Château de Vaux-Le-Vicomte

The castle is surrounded by the moat, and the presence of water gives visitors a little break in the dry weather.

Inside the building there are many things to see. Many old books and paintings, and each item tells us what the life in the past was like and how Nicola Fouquet spent his life. This is the painting which shows the scene when Nicola Fouquet was tried in the court. We can tell from this that the power of the king was absolute.

Jean de la Fontaine, a fable writer, who had his association with Nicola Fouquet, was one of the contemporaries. In France, he has been admired for his contribution to the introduction of Aesop’s Fables and more stories of his own. In the middle of the absolute monarchism, it was impossible to criticize the king directly, so he did so using a character of a lion in his story as a symbol of the king.

This is the bathroom at that time. The thing which looks like a long chair in the middle of the room is a bathtub, and the small pots were used to serve hot water. One more thing that is interesting to know is the chair on the right side which has a hole on it. It is a toilet!

And the photo on the right is the bedroom. Can you see how small the people in the past? I can’t stretch my legs on such a tiny bed!!

This is Fouquet’s study room. I wonder what kind of books he was reading in this room.

The buffet room is Fouquet’s old dining room. Before his time, all meals had been carried to a master’s room or a guest room, so this is the first buffet room in the history. The right photo shows his wine cave.

Have you ever heard the legend of Iron Mask? In the time of Louis XIV, one strange prisoner with an iron mask on was living. The story tells that the mask was locked and the man never spoke. People who saw his face were all executed as well. One hypothesis is that the man might be a twin brother of Louis XIV, but the truth is all in the dark. And did Fouquet know about the man?

There are still more rooms in the castle, including an observatory, Dome visit. Keep in mind that this castle is the model of Versailles, so that you will find many similarities.

The Garden of Vaux-le-Vicomte
The designer of this garden is Le Notre, who was also in charge of creating Versailles Palace later. He was given a symbolic designation of cabbage and snails in honor of his great work. You can learn more about him in the room of Le Notre exhibition.

After studying about the creator of this garden, you go outside to see the garden itself. Everything in this garden is well calculated and measured. It is the garden created by force of mathematics.

The big water fountains placed in the middle of the garden make the real distance look shorter. You think it is not so far, but in reality it is pretty far. It is fun to walk thinking about the trick.

They have a firework festival here in the summer.
It must be very beautiful.

This is the view from across the river.

People arriving from the castle on foot are resting on the hill.

Château de Vauxt-le-Vicomte
77950 MAINCY

TEL: 01 64 14 41 90
FAX: 01 60 69 90 85
Official website

Everyday from March 24 to November 11(2007) * except July 6 and 7
10:00 am~5:30 pm *the castle is closed 1:00 pm~2:00 pm

December 22(2007)~ January 6 (2008) * except December 25 and January 1
10:00 am~6:30 pm

**More details at their official site

Vauxt-le-Vicomte has a variety of events through the year. Check the website.

( Events in 2007)

・17th century dressed feast and Lunch Party on June 17th (2007)

・The party of Augusut 17th—open-air theater, music, and fireworks

・Open-air Opera [Le Barbier de Seville] September 6th to 9th (2007)

・Baroque music concert on October 20th (2007)

・Vauxt-le-Vicomte celebrates Christmas from December 22nd to January 6th (2008)

・Candle light  8:00 pm~11:00 pm every Friday in July and August (except July 6th) and every Saturday from May 5th to October 6th (except July 7th and September 8th)

・Fountain show 3:00 pm~6:00 pm Every 2nd and the last Saturday from March 24th to October 17th

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