Wednesday, November 11, 2009


When Madame Le Chef and I were visiting friends in the Loire Valley in 2008, they suggested that we go see the town of Richelieu. Although I had heard of the famous Cardinal, I knew nothing about the town. Turns out the town was the ancestral home of the Cardinal and, at the height of his power, when he was running France for Louis XIII, he had a new town built on top of the old one. It was constructed between 1631 and 1642, which seems like pretty fast work for a whole town. It is walled, with a moat around it, and designed on a strict grid plan. Next to the town, Cardinal Richelieu built a huge palace, set in a correspondingly large park.

The town is still there and the park is still there but the palace was dismantled and sold off as building material in the 19th Century. Apparently it was not a political act. A real estate agent just wanted to make some money. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Except for cars and no merde in the streets, the town preserves its 17th Century appearance.

The Cardinal presides over the parking lot at the entrance to the park.

There are remaining outbuildings, gardens and canals but there does seem to be some huge thing missing.

The woods have vistas carved into them that are vaguely ominous.

The evidence of what was there.


wownflutter said...

Nice photos!

The green grove is beautiful!

Bureau Chief said...

Thank you. Madame Le Chef took that photo.

Katharine said...

Bonjour. Am is there a way to sign up to receive news of your blog?

Bureau Chief said...

Bonjour Katherine

Thank you for your interest in the blog. I don't know a way that you can be notified when I post something new. The best I can suggest is that you check back from time to time. I'm trying to post more often.

Anonymous said...

Set up an RSS feed.

(Really Simple Syndication)