The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 12

Sensational cities to tiny villages, food and wine, culture and heritage. Champagne, an aristocratic saffron grower, Anger, Montparnasse, Morzeine, Carol Drinkwater shares her passion for France. Gorgeous photos and fabulous features will transport you to the heart of France in this brilliant, free magazine...

© Beatrice

© Beatrice Lecuyer-Bibal The Chateau de Vaux-Le-Vicomte is one of those places that looks utterly gorgeous in photos but when you view it for real looks even better says Janine Marsh as she takes a day trip from Paris.... You may have seen it recently and not even realised. If you’re a fan of the TV series “Versailles”, the raunchy bonkbuster serial about the shenanigans of the Royals and aristos of Louis XIV’s court, then it may surprise you to know that much of the filming took place at the Chateau de Vaux-Le-Vicomte – not at the Chateau of Versailles. The producers of the “Versailles” have really done their homework on the look of the day, from the shoes, dresses and hairstyles to the furnishings and architecture. Whilst the Chateau of Versailles may seem an obvious choice as the location for filming, in fact, the décor there is largely 18th century, a hundred years too late for the authentic look sought. Vaux-Le-Vicomte though, has retained its 17th century beauty, and, as the prototype and inspiration for the later Chateau de Versailles – it was the perfect place to film. Scene from "Versailles" at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte Above: The chateau on a winter's day; below: filming "Versailles" at Vaux-le-Vicomte

The history of Vaux-le- Vicomte This is a chateau with an exquisite and electrifying heritage. A tale of passion, betrayal, corruption and despair which shaped the history of France was played out here. You feel it in the kitchens with their gleaming copper pans, in the beautifully furnished rooms with their paintings and tapestries and gilded this and that, in the gardens which look as they did when Le Notre, the king's favourite gardener designed them. There is an echo of the past here and you can't avoid it. Enter those grand gates, climb the imposing staircase, and remember that there, in 1661 stood the owner, a man called Nicolas Fouquet. He was waiting to welcome his King to the newly built chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte. It was 17 August, a hot, sultry night. Fouquet had served Louis XIV well and loyally as his minister of finances, and that night he hoped to wow him by entertaining him in great style. Fouquet had invested a small fortune in the design and building of the chateau, bringing together three greats from French history, Le Brun the painter, Le Vau the architect and Le Notre the gardener. To the onlooker it wasn’t just fabulous, it was dizzying in its beauty. The chateau and gardens had taken 20 years to create. The night the King came, it wasn’t quite finished. Painters of ceilings and walls downed tools, masons carving statues swept up and made everything look as good as it could and got out of the way before the King arrived. Even unfinished, the result was ravishing. The King’s carriage swept into the courtyard, he alighted and stood at the bottom of the stairs looking up at Fouquet, the minister was proud of his achievement, quite possibly the most beautiful castle in all of France. Hours later, the fate of the minister and the chateau was sealed by a jealous King. Never again would anyone stand higher than Louis XIV or have a chateau more beautiful than his. The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte has appeared in some 80 films including Marie Antoinete, Moonraker and The Man With The Iron mask, who incidentally was imprisoned alongside Fouquet

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