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...

Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte

Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte Today Video tells history of the chaeau in under 4 minutes with beautiful imagery The de Vogüé family have over the past 150 years, devoted themselves to restoring and maintaining the chateau, forging ties with universities and schools. They bought furniture and ornaments of the right period, piece by piece and returned the garden to its original design. Their aim is to make sure Vaux-le-Vicomte's legacy is protected for future generations to enjoy. Despite its grandeur and captivating beauty, this place is nevertheless still a home. Alexander de Vogüé, son of the Count and Countess who live there, and often spotted wandering around, recalls playing here as a child, hurrying to hide his toys behind the curtains before chateau visitors arrived. These days his parents live in a wing of the chateau, and, with 300,000 visitors a year things are run more professionally. Vaux-le-Vicomte today retains an air of the past. In winter fires are lit to warm the rooms. At Christmas this stunning palace comes alive with magnificent decorations, festive rides, snow and seasonal music, and, by the way, the gift shop is superb, the Countess personally chooses all the merchandise. Look out for squirrels, a nod to the past and Fouquet. His name means squirrel in French and he had the furry red creature depicted in paintings on the walls, ceilings and shutters over the grand windows (below right). Rent a costume from the chateau shop, it's just 3 euros for kids and adults, dress up like a King or Queen as you wander the rooms and grounds. Go on a Saturday night in summer months and enjoy the spellbinding sight of 2000 candles in the gardens and some of the rooms. Seeing the chateau in the mellow candle light really makes the place feel special, and sends shivers down your spine at the thought that this is just how it would have looked that fateful summer's night in 1661...

© Beatrice Lecuyer-Bibal Out in the gardens you can’t help but be awed by the cleverness of Le Notre's design. Head gardener Patrick Borgeot explains that everything was designed for viewing pleasure from different parts of the garden and chateau. Hidden canals, topiary designs that look different from the top of the steps than they do from the bottom of the steps. There are follies, statues, fountains, ornamental planting, even a waterfall. The gardens are exquisite and if you don’t want to miss anything, you can rent a buggy to get round it all, which is also a lot of fun. As you stand in the garden looking up at the chateau with its wedding cake style dome and its marvellous symmetry you can understand that the compelling splendour of this place would drive a King insane with jealousy – it really is breath-takingly beautiful. How to get there It’s an easy visit from Paris. From Gare de l’Est, take a train to Verneuil l'Etang and there is a shuttle bus service to and from the station. (Note: do check return times for the train, especially on weekends) The Chateau is open daily (including bank holidays) from April 1 to November 2, 2016 (but check the website in case of exceptional closings) and weekends all year round. There is a restaurant on site as well as picnic areas and on Saturday nights a bar and restaurant are available for candlelit soirees – Champagne and macarons in the gardens of this fabulous palace – yes please! Website: www.vaux-le-vicomte

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