Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is the Palace of Versailles before the Palace of Versailles. We have said it all in one sentence, and yet, its story hides so many fun facts that visiting it is as important as visiting the Sun King's Palace.
The Story of Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Vaux-le-Vicomte is one man's dream, Nicolas Fouquet who used to be young King Louis XIV's Superintendent of Finances when Mazarin was ruling. He buys an estate far from Paris and builds a castle, the current palace, then. For this one, he calls in the best artisans of the era. Architect Le Vau, painter-decorator Le Brun and gardener Le Nôtre. He entrusts them with the construction of an estate covering over 4 kilometers. It is 1653. The palace is built in a few years, and in July 1659, Fouquet is now able to welcome the King.
Everything is going well, but Fouquet wants to impress Louis XIV and pays him tribute: on August 17, 1661, Fouquet hosts a magnificent party for the King who comes with 600 courtiers. Water plays, firework show, creation of a play by Molière and spectacular party La Fontaine reported. You may know the rest: far from making the King happy, this party makes his blood boil. He is absolutely furious his Superintendent displays such luxury. The origin of such an amount of money seems suspicious to him, and when Mazarin dies, the King does everything to put his Superintendent in jail as he cannot stay put.
The king will later seize furniture, tapestries, paintings, and Mrs. fouquet will take 10 years to get her properties back, where she retired with her elder son. The Château is sold in 1705. After being bought by a few rich dukes and marshals, the estate is eventually purchased by an art collector, Alfred Sommier who wants to restore it. Today, his descendants, Jean-Charles, Alexandre, and Ascanio pursue the work their ancestor started 140 years ago.
The Palace of all desires
Vaux estate covers 4 kilometers then, and the Château, in the middle, is perfectly symmetrical covering 3 stories and 4 lodges. The palace features about a hundred rooms scattered on 2,500sqm on 3 floors.
In Vaux-le-Vicomte, rooms are not set in a row, but in a two-shaft layout, enables to get a line of parallel rooms. Sticking to the time's tradition, the King owns his own private apartments. Thorough care is taken to enable the King to stop by if he happens to take on a tiring journey.
Gardens and innovations
Vaux-le-Vicomte is one of the estates where gardens are as important as the palace. The 33-hectare French formal garden, walk ways, pools, and fountains, statues, majestic trees, and flowered brushes expect us all impatiently. Between the pathways that seem to go endlessly all the way to Hercules golden statue and the special entertainments are held when the park reopens, visitors will be delighted!
At weekends, children are encouraged to make small boats sail on the small canals. Water displays are also to be enjoyed in pools and fountains between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. From 3 p.m., the kiosque sucré expects you for a snack break.
This year, we have not been able to enjoy the great Easter egg hunt that was held on April 3, 4 and 5, 2021. Seeing this event being cancelled saddened us a lot, but we can still be happy, discovering the rest of the program for the year, as many great moments are in store.
June 13 is the Grand Siècle night, that will blow you away and amaze you. For an afternoon or a candlelit dinner, take part in a day full of Grand Siècle costumes. Baroque dancing, musketeer show and horse-drawn carriage rides will make you discover the French art de vivre at the time of Louis XIV and Nicolas Fouquet. Surprises expect you all day long, so, do not miss it!
From July 3 to October 2, Candlelit dinners are back. A magical event making you feel like you are part of the Court of the former kings of France. For your pleasure only, the château has planned a sophisticated and romantic dinner and a champagne and macaron bar. To top this exception night, enjoy a revisited and staged golden and silver firework show.
Starting from July 3, run and take part in the "Le Styx, Rivière des Enfers" entertainment. This tour guided by an actor takes you to the depths of the estate's underground river, a space filled with legends and myths explored by Jean de la Fontaine.
Starting October 17, Vaux-le-Vicomte en lumières returns for a new editions. Magical décors, lights, special entertainments: this season beautifully closes Vaux-le-Vicomte's year. Do not miss this event!
Are you also eager to experience all these moments at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte?
Dates and Opening Time
Starts 8 May 2021
Château de Vaux le Vicomte
Château de Vaux-Le-Vicomte
- de 6 ans: Free
billet jardin uniquement: €9
Les jardins du château sont ouverts du mercredi au dimanche, de 11h à 18h.
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