Éminence Rouge

The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Friday, 30 September 2016

The former Demi-Lune at the head of the castle's gardens in 1660

Now sadly without sculptures or exhibits
Engraving byJean Marot of the original design
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to inspire Mesdames S****, duT*** et B*******

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Monday, 26 September 2016

A panorama of the parc de Richelieu from the old wine cellars

Looking north-west,towards the site of the former château that was demolished in the 1840s...

click on the image for the full panorama
the same view from the same place by the engraver Jean Marot - 1660

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Friday, 16 September 2016

The colour palette of Richelieu's houses...

a house near the place du Marché

a side door to the church in ochre paint

the tuffeau masonry of the fausse porte

a house from the early 19th century
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Monday, 12 September 2016

A new notary for the town

The town's notaire - notary - has just retired and been substituted by a charming new successor in the role
Bénédicte Chabaneix.

Pierre Gravel was also the Mayor of the town, immediately before the current office holder, 
Hervé Novelli.
Many new Richelais and Richelaises got to know the cité idéale while in Pierre's hands,
as they negotiated and finally bought properties.

Good luck Bénédicte,
 from the old Abbé Henri Proust.


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Monday, 29 August 2016

Railway demolitions for the new 'Voie Verte' - green pathway - between Richelieu and Chinon

a huge pile of old sleepers

former railway line rails

the engine shed, shed of its tracks

the empty locomotive shed

the last remaining item, a double-decker carriage



the station and demolitions underway

la gare

a new business is in preparation
cycle rentals


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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The new roundabout at the northern Porte de Chinon

A new roundabout has appeared at the northern gate to the town, the Porte de Chinon. This reinforces the original 17th century layout of the gate composition, based as it is on a circular layout of rotation.

While the by-pass remains incomplete in its north western sector, all the passing traffic, including frequent euro-artic-trucks, have to navigate this poem of French civic traffic engineering.  It seems odd that there is always money for endless traffic engineering of doubtful purpose, while the old stones of the town languish in dereliction. Don't we all love our cars!

It seems to the old Abbé Henri Proust that the Lemercier brothers would have added a central obelisk, in the manner of seventeenth century Roma, as a confirmation of the centrality of the layout and a reminder of more celestial ambitions for the cité idéale


the Chinon gate closed for the construction period

the bridge out of town with new cobbles

the new roundabout

doesn't this need a central obelisk?

the axis of the parc de quinconce

kooking south at the porte de Chinon

the new circular footpath



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Monday, 22 August 2016

Raise the red lanterns...

The Chinese Film Festival at the Cinema Majestic that took place towards the end of August 2016 saw the appearance of a contrasting and faintly bizarre conjunction of cultures. 17th century France suddenly sporting red Chinese lanterns. The twinning of the town of Richelieu with that of Wuzhen in the PRC gives this a piquant relevance, as do the young visitors who recently came from South Korea, as symbolised by the national flag in the second picture below.

The poster for the film festival features the graceful face of the actress Gong Li who is the heorine of the film Raise the Red Lantern that tells the melancholy role of humble womenfolk in ancient warlord China.

我们有没有中国的读者?

我們有沒有中國的讀者?

The town hall decked out









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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A few friends came round to dinner....

The annual Nocturne Gourmande took place on the Friday 5th August 2016. As you can see from the video below, it was a vibrant success, with many, many visitors. The market square has many purposes but this event turned the square into a giant public theatre. Both the LeMercier boys, designers of the square and the town itself in 1630, with their eminent client, the Cardinal Duke, would have been thrilled.







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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Chinon in infra red by Bruno Thomé

Click on the picture for Bruno's Flikr page of his photography

infrared photo of the fortress in Chinon across the River Vienne
Hope Bruno doesn't mind a plug...


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A photo essay of the Petit Château in the parc de Richelieu
















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