[life]: Travel Diaries - The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte


As I mentioned in my Travel Diaries - Paris post I spent some 3-4 weeks in France with our three kids last year in June traveling from Paris to Lyon to small towns in Burgundy and elsewhere. This was our third extended trip to France so we visited some favorites (Paris) and some new places (everything else).

On our way to Lyon (or actually outside Lyon but that is another post) we stopped to visit The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. We had a chance to visit plenty of different style chateaus over the years and each one has something unique to offer, most often a really interesting story and in this case, also the fact that people come dressed up (or rent appropriate attire while there) to transport themselves back to 17th century or so.

The Chateau has a similar story to The Hampton's Court of Henry VIII as it was built by one of the kings best trusted man who dared to create something that might have eclipsed what the sovereign already had in possession. In case of Henry VIII it was Cardinal Wosley, and in case of The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the role of Henry was played by Louis XIV and Wosley was in fact, Nicolas Fouquet. Both Wosley and Fouquet built their palaces fit for kings and invited those kings to feel at home. While it worked for Wosley (at least for a bit of time until he fell out of graces for other reasons), it never really worked for Fouquet, who found himself in prison and his possessions mostly taken away.

Louis XIV did not want this chateau, but wanted to build something even better and just used the furnishings he took/bought from this places - moreover, this chateau's gardens served as inspiration for what will be magnificent Versailles. It is said that nobles in those times were wearing cloth masks in prisons, but some tie Nicolas to being the man in the iron mask - hence some of the exhibits at the chateau alluding to the fact.

Beside the interesting story of the palace, what really stood out for us during this visit are exhibitions and the fact that not only employees but visitors dress the part. It really makes the place come alive. Enjoy!

Here are a few more interior/exterior details:

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