This was for Nicolas Fouquet, who was the Marquis de Belle-Isle,
Viscount of Melun and Vaux, a patron of the fine arts, and was also the superintendent of
finances for King Louis XIV.
Three talented individuals were employed to realise Nicolas Fouquet's ambition, and these
were the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter and sculptor Charles Le Brun and the
landscape gardener Andre Le Notre. And even today you can see the visions within the
combination of magnificent architecture, beautiful decoration and breathtaking garden.
The Chateau Vaux le Vicomte is like many other chateaux in the North of France, where it
is surrounded by a rectangular moat and there is an arrival avenue that goes across a
bridge to the open forecourt, plus the structure is symmetrical and tightly
integrated. The Grand Salon has long been considered as one of the most stunning and
dramatic rooms of the majestic chateau.
Yet unlike Versailles, this site was also
naturally well watered, with two small rivers that met in the park.
After some dramatic events that have taken place over the years since the chateau was
built, it went into disrepair and was left empty for around 30 years, but through a public
auction it was purchased by Alfred Sommier, who bought the chateau at the end of the 19th
He then started to restore the magnificent building, its outbuildings and the gardens to
its former glory, along with the decoration, furnishings and art collection.
Even after his death, his descendants have continued the work he started and have to this
day opened their glorious chateau to the public.
The Chateau Vaux le Vicomte is completely furnished and you can visit the state
apartments, private cabinets, dining room on the main floor, the bedrooms and private
apartments on the first floor, and the kitchens and cellars in the basement. You can
even take an optional tour to the roof for a panoramic view from the top of the dome.
You can take a ride in an electric golf car, which are available for hire, to get you
around the extremely large French style gardens that were originally designed and created
by the garden designer Andre le Notre, who also designed the gardens at the Fontainbleau Chateau and the Chateau de Versailles, or go on the canal with the
With candlelight visits available along with a restaurant, bookshop and gift shop, plus a
horse driven carriage museum, which houses a unique and private collection of 18th and
19th century carriages, you can be sure that there will be something for all the family to
In the vaulted cellars of the chateau, you can also experience The Andre le Notre
exhibition that gives visitors the illusion of strolling along the paths of the garden in
an interactive model.
From March until October each year there is a fountain show held twice a month and this
can be a spectacular sight, especially when you care to consider that the fountains are
still gravity fed the same way as in the 17th century.
The Chateau Vaux le Vicomte can also be a children's paradise, with lots of activities
arranged throughout the year, such as Easter egg hunts, costume tours, treasure hunts and
more. Just make sure that you find out when these are on before arranging your
holiday, as there is always different events at different times, plus the whole chateau
and grounds can also be hired out and as such will be shut to tourists on certain dates.
So if you are anywhere near Paris or in the North of France, then this fine example of a
very well restored chateau is definitely worth the time to visit whilst on your holiday in France.