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.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A blog post concerning Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris

Peter's Paris is a very informative blog on the French metropolis, much to be recommended.
 Today, 7 July 2015, the subject is the life and locations of
Saint Vincent de Paul and his Lazarist foundation.

Read on….

Vincent de Paul 
- 1581 to 1660 -
was nominated by cardinal duc de Richelieu to be responsible for the souls of the new inhabitants of his cité idéale who were from a part of France much affected by poverty and the bloody
'Wars of Religion' -  i.e. the Hugenot (protestant) / Catholic contests of Europe's 17th century.

He founded a Lazarist mission in the new town itself, no doubt modelled on his base in Paris, referred to in this fascinating post 'by a retired Swede'.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Miriam opens the p'tit Saint Ange

looking back towards the town

back - of - house
The restaurant Fossé Saint Ange is run by Myriam and Cyr Boîtard in a small tower at the Châtellerault entry gate to the ville idéale.  It is very popular but only open a few days a week as the proprietors pursue their main calling as fine artists and print-makers.

This summer, and for the first time, they have opened a café at the entrance to the ducal park, maybe 150 metres from home base.  It is in the open air under a sunshade and uses as back-of-house one of the symmetrical buildings that form the main gate to the park itself.  Heretofore no-one offered café or restaurant facilities in a park that in summertime is full of visitors.

We offer our very best wishes to this new venture and look forward to sitting at their tables.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The NW corner tower is to be restored and renovated

" Here, the Endowment Fund, 
 is restoring the town's north-west corner  pavilion
with the sponsorship of enterprises from the canton of Richelieu "


A project for the restoration and modification of the north-west corner pavilion of the town walls.

This corner pavilion, together with the other three corner towers, was constructed in the 1630s at the same time as the towns girdling walls. It was categorised as a Monument Historique in 1879. Together with the Porte de Chinon, it completes the northern façade of the town. This pavilion has been preserved in an remarkably authentic condition and could become a point of attraction to both the inhabitants and visitors to Richelieu. It could be put at the disposition of benefactors and cultural associations to organise exhibits, re-unions and receptions and act as a temporary exhibition space for a link with of the early 17th century.

On the western façade, the two pairs of tall windows light the ground and first floors within. On the northern façade, a large ‘oculus’ window opens onto the roof’s attic space. The ground area within the pavilion is of only 24 net square metres (240 nsf). The only access to the building is obviously to the interior of the walls by a piece of ground in the ownership of the town that currently accommodates the existing Salle de Fêtes. A redeveloped space in front of the pavilion’s entry door should be anticipated. 

Abandonned for a long time, this pavilion is in a very mediocre state and needs important restoration work to both interior and exterior. It was the subject in the 1990s of a preliminary study carried out by A. de St. Jouan, architecte des Monuments Historiques, with a preliminary estimate to realise the necessary works in the order of 150,000 €.

The Endowment Fund proposes to undertake the phased restoration and redevelopment of this project by returning the pavilion to its 17th century condition – without either water or electricity – so that it conserves a totally original condition. The Fund will be helped by local enterprises and other individuals and benefactors. Finance could follow a pattern of paying for particular elements of the works - the attic, the entry door, the oculus, the ground surfaces, the staircase, the windows, the walls etc.. In the case of original-state restoration, the costs would be smaller with the absence of the costs of modern services. One could also consider the use of the project for apprentice artisanal training on some part or all of the works.

Error in French! - for location read l'emplacement
Silly boy!

Chaussée has TWO 's'es!


Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Abbé HP has a little rose bush...

sorry about the greenfly...

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Pollarding the lime trees

Look! no cars - and all the trees have had a haircut….

"a short back, sides and top please, Sir".

the restored halle roof behind

The green, green grass of le parc de Richelieu

The 'sweet and merry month of May', arrives and shows just how lush Mother Nature can be, if supported by hidden gardeners with mowing machines.

cut to uncut meadows

the approach towards the duke's wine cellar

a bridge over the main canal of the park

today's version of Richelieu's 'demi-lune' garden
home-made bamboo 'modesty' cylinders for waste bins!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Fossé Sainte Ange - NOW! le petit sainte ange

Ouvert tous les jours du 1er juillet au 31 août de 12 h à 18h... Et plus lors des concerts du parc! Plus de précisons très bientôt!

Open everyday from 1 July 2015 to 31 August 2015 from12 noon till six pm. And more when the concerts are on in the park.  More news to follow…..

A new project on Place Louis XIII - first post

A former warehouse and factory is being refurbished on the small square located behind la Halle, now called place Louis XIII, formerly the marché des vaux - the calf market.

This industrial structure has stood derelict for many years, and has now been taken in hand by an American architect.  So far the rear wall to the river Mable has been cleaned up, and now the front wall to the square is being comprehensively overhauled by one of the town's firms of building contractors 'Beun Edifice'.  They are building several projects across the town as can be seen from their signage, here emblazoned across the project's façade.
insulation roofing panels are hoisted into place
 Now, of course, someone needs to take the masonry of the town-owned gate in hand too.  It is a great example of Mannerism, with the designer's realisation that the structure will only be perceived from a long distance.
next to the false gate and backing in the River Mable.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Geometry and how to layout a new city

Page 217 and 218 of Book 1, 'Elements of Geometry'

This particular page instructs how to layout a large circle with out making dimensional mistakes caused by an angled marker stick.  The book suggests that, in order to stop errors, the circle's radial string should end in an isosceles triangle supporting the vertical stick. This would keep the marker vertical while the circle was traced.  On paper and at a smaller scale, the compass achieves this accuracy by the rigidity of the compass instrument itself.

The town of Richelieu is approached from two large circular layouts, one in front of the northern Porte de Chinon and the other the southern Porte de Châtellerault.  Each circle, being maybe 50m in radius, might easily have been carried out inaccurately but for this simple technical improvement.

The engraved view of the town that is seen on its north/south axis, shows the state of construction in about 1635.  The Church and La Halle are already there as are rue Saint Anne (today rue Henri Proust), rue de la Galère and some other structures.  The construction of the Grand Rue has not yet been started.  The external walls, the town's gates and the street carriageways were built at the Crown's expense while the hôtels particulars - the 28 identical mansions - were to be financed at the cost of 10,000 livres tournois each by clients through the Bishop of Bordeaux.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Café Amélie and the 7th Duchess of Richelieu

Café Amélie, 900 Royal Street, New Orleans, USA

A chum of the old Abbé HP has had the opportunity to visit the city of New Orleans.

So what is the connection with the cité idéale, here in Poitou?

The 7th duke of Richelieu (and Fronsac) married the American heiress, Alice Heine. She gave a son and a daughter to this older husband in their five short years of marriage. She herself was the daughter of Michel Heine, head of the Berlin/Paris/New Orleans bankers Heine & Cie. Michel reconstituted the ducal domaine around the château de Richelieu as a flamboyant wedding gift, after the property's fragmentation following the defeat of the little Corsican at Waterloo in 1815.  The 5th Duke had escaped from the 1789 Revolution by going to Russia, and the family estate had been sold and divided.

The park one sees today in Richelieu is really the result of this spectacular gift, re-designed by the well known 19th century landscape designers, the Buehler Brothers.

This rich and glamourous belle of New Orleans was the daughter of Michel and Amélie Miltenburger, a daughter of a prosperous New Orleans family of architects. They had a string of houses on Rue Royale in the French Quarter centered on street number 900.

Today this connection with France and Monaco is well remembered in this partly Francophone city.  The Milterburger houses are still there, redolent of the grand mansions of New Orleans, and Alice's birth house is now a popular restaurant called Café Amélie, named after Alice's mother.

Abbé Henri's souvenir tee-shirt; 25$!