Friday, March 6, 2009

This gorgeous chateau is Vaux le Vicomte ~ 1656-1661 ~ I took this picture when visiting Vaux in July last year. It is actually 17th century but I think set the precedent for the 18th century. " Vaux-le-Vicomte, Nicolas Fouquet's estate, the Lord high treasurer of Louis XIV, is, in the middle of the 17th century, one of the most modern and elegant masterpiece that none of the royal properties can yet compete with. Irritated by such ostentation, the young Sun King, condemned Fouquet to life imprisonment, and took from Vaux his inspiration to build Versailles." (Quote from Vaux-le-Vicomte brochure).

Obviously it didn't pay to outdo the King! However this stunning chateau is hauntingly beautiful and every summer they do a re-enactment of the party that Fouquet gave the King in 1661. I attended the Summer Candlelight Visit where they light 2000 candles within the chateau and there is a champagne bar in the gardens and an orchestra. One felt like one could have gone back in time..... It is interesting to think that if Fouquet had not created Vaux with the help of the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun and the gardener Andre Le Notre would Versailles have been born? All these men achieved great status with "the construction, decoration and gardens at Versailles" but were relatively unknown when Fouquet commisioned them for Vaux. Would history have been different?
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Anonymous said...

What an interesting - and somewhat disturbing - thought that a such a breath-taking palace (can't call Versaille a building) would not exist if not for jealousy! What an amazing time to be alive - only in the right class of couse - to see such grandure and extravagance everyday. I am so happy that Versaille and other such buildings are still standing for us to see - another testament to the brilliance of these men - imagine what women could have done if rules were different!

M.A. the 2nd ~ Frances Russell said...

Thank-you so much Sophie - I agree how amazing was that time but also how little public influence women had. Of course they had the most influence only some men didn't realize it! I admire these men immensely and I believe they would have loved to have worked alongside women creating artistic masterpieces like Versailles and Vaux!

Eliza Ward said...


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