• Vaux le Vicomte Castle (5 hours) Description

    The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French Chateau , 55 km southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne departement . It was built from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV.

    The chateau was in many ways the most influential work built in Europe in the mid-17th century and the most elaborate and grand house built in France. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of a new order: the magnificent manner that is associated with the "Louis XIV style".

    The château was lavish, refined, and dazzling to behold, but these characteristics proved tragic for its owner: the king had Fouquet arrested shortly after a famous fête that took place on 17 August 1661 where Molière's play 'Les Fâcheux' debuted. The celebration had been too impressive and the superintendent's home too luxurious. Fouquet's intentions were to flatter the King: part of Vaux-le-Vicomte was actually constructed specifically for the king, but Fouquet's plan backfired. Jean-Baptiste Colbert led the king to believe that his minister's magnificence was funded by the misappropriation of public funds. Colbert, who then replaced Fouquet as superintendent of finances, arrested him. Later, Voltaire was to sum up the famous fête thus: "On 17 August, at six in the evening Fouquet was the King of France: at two in the morning he was nobody."

    Vaux-le-Vicomte may have been under threat of abandon or destruction, but Vaux-le-Vicomte has survived, thanks to the unfailing determination of three centuries of dedicated individuals. Resplendent today as it was in former times, Vaux-le Vicomte stands as a symbol of the intelligence, taste and independence of its creator, Nicolas Fouquet.

    Upon your arrival your guide will take you for a private, guided visit of the chateau and the exceptional gardens.

    The gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte sweep along a grand perspective, of almost a mile and a half (3km). This new style in landscaping testifies to FOUQUET et de LE NOTRE's love of innovation. Creating a setting for the château and outbuildings out of a wild area of around 100 acres (40 hectares),LE NOTRE and LE VAU created for the first and only time in the seventeenth century, a perfect harmony between architecture and its environment.

    The vast area, is divided up into a sequence of terraces, forming an orderly composition of broderies of box based on motifs from Turkish carpets, bordered flower beds, shrubberies, grottos, lawns, lakes and fountains. If no other garden of the period were to have survived, the Vaux gardens would suffice to illustrate the principles of landscape gardening in the age of elegance.

    The remarkable use of laws of perspective and optical illusion, also gives the observer the pleasant sensation of being able to 'embrace' the gardens at a glance.The grottos which appear to be just a few minutes walk from the chateau, rising from the edge of the square lake, recede as they are approached. They are, in fact, over six hundred feet (200 meters) away on the other side of the canal.

    Framing the thoughtfully-planned gardens are deciduous woods, where other enchantments lie in wait for a walk in the leafy shade.

    (Entrance tickets to the chateau and gardens of Vaux le Vicomte included).

    Extra charge for a pick up and/or a drop off outside Paris

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