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.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Office of Tourism

Sunlight falling on the façade of the restored Tourist Office, adding a nice shadow to the elevated lettering on the front wall. We wait hoping that the other half of this hôtel particulier - mansion - will shortly be restored to match, now that it has been acquired by the Townhall, together with the adjacent shop. All the Place du Marché's corner pavilions are very conspicuous in the urban vista.

Monday, 16 January 2017

In the cemetery with the Abbé Henri Proust

H.(Henri) A.(Armand) PROUST 1817-1897 - at 80 years;
 Sacerdos Christi in te domino speravi
Priest of Christ
O Lord, in thee have I trusted

the tomb
the man
the street


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The start of restoration of the church buildings in Richelieu

The church buildings of France are generally the responsibility of the town hall rather than the episcopate. So expensive restoration of listed historic buildings  is either a subject of civic pride and duty or a financial money pit for the poor commune and its tax-payers.

The old Abbé  thinks that the brothers Lemercier would have liked this 'rigorous' layout of scaffolding;
so neo-classical.......

The history of church and state

Title III: Buildings of worship
  • Article 12 declares that all buildings which the state has made available to religious organizations will remain the property of the state pursuant to the provisions in the following articles. (This article was amended in 1998.)
  • Article 13 specifies that the "buildings used for public worship, and movable objects furnishing them will be left free of charge to public institutions of worship", details the methods by which disputed ownership may be determined, and describes procedures for reclamation of properties and fixtures abandoned by religious organizations. (This article was modified in 2015.)
  • Article 14 provides the same directives as Article 13 for "Archdioceses, bishoprics, parsonages and their dependency, big seminaries and faculties of Protestant theology".
  • Article 15 specifies that, "in the departments of the Savoy, the Haute Savoie and Alpes-Maritimes" buildings used "for the exercise of worship or for the accommodation of their ministers" may be "allocated by villages on the territory from which they are" pursuant to Article 12, while "cemeteries remain the property of the villages".
  • Article 16 creates a special category for "buildings for public religious worship (cathedrals, churches, chapels, temples, synagogues, archbishops, bishops, presbyters, seminars), in which will be included all of these buildings representative in whole or in parts, artistic or historical value."
  • Article 17 establishes that the sale of any buildings covered by the above articles shall be offered to: "1 religious associations; 2 communes; 3 departments; 4. Museums and art and archaeology societies; 5 to the state," in that order.

The restoration of the 'North-west angle pavilion' (sometime Tour Sainte Anne)

the 2017 annual message from the townhall
The project for the restoration of the guard tower, located at the north-western corner of the town's engirdling city wall, is announced in the new year message brochure from the town hall.

the project is announced officially!

...before even the founding of the Fonds de Dotation.

first signs of action!.....
......a window goes missing for details and measurements.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Bicycle hire starts near the former station of Richelieu.

M. Minassian prepares for the completion, promised for the summer of 2017, of the 'voie verte' or green cycle way, that will link the famous city of Chinon with the Cité Idéale of Richelieu at a distance of about 14 kilometres. The tourist will then be able to promenade along the pretty valley of the Veude river - it becomes the modest stream Mable by the time of its arrival in Richelieu - along the flat former railway line that linked the two towns. It operated from about 1880 till 2000 or so and was constructed mainly for the export of white veal to the Paris markets.
So far, the tracks have been removed for scrap, all the locomotives and rolling stock moved elsewhere (Thouars?) and the frequent junctions of road and former rail line have had new crossings laid to allow cars and bicylces to cross in safety.  It was the problems of these crossings that spelt the death knell of the former railway link. It was impossible to reconstruct so many crossings to modern HSE standards. The trains had to have a man with a red flag go in front by foot!

Friday, 23 December 2016

God Yul 2016

Monday, 19 December 2016

the parc's lonely swan has lost his mate....

the swan patrols the moat of the cardinal duc's château

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!

Friday, 2 December 2016

'Abendrot' in Schaafheim - Richelieu' s twin town in Germany

As winter closes in, the evenings darken...

photos by Wolfgang Roth, chum of the old Abbé Henri Proust
Silhouette of the town of Schaafheim

Fire brigade buildings

Christamas lights on top of the fire station's Schlauchturm (hose tower)

Christmas decorations in Ortstrasse

The Evangelist church
......Frohliche Weihnachten aus Schaafheim


Thursday, 1 December 2016

The restored halle with a bit of pollarding

notice the pidgeon up top!
empty parking next to the church....

Friday, 25 November 2016

Thursday 15 September 1644 - The Diary of John Evelyn

John Evelyn, a diarist and friend of Samuel Pepys, visits the cité idéale in September 1644; he is 24 years of age...the cardinal duc has died two years previously....

with many thanks...
"The next day, we arrived, and went to see the Cardinal’s Palace, near it. The town is built in a low, marshy ground, having a narrow river cut by hand, very even and straight, capable of bringing up a small vessel. It consists of only one considerable street (1), the houses on both sides (as indeed throughout the town) built exactly uniform, after a modern handsome design. It has a large goodly market house and place, opposite to which is the church built of freestone, having two pyramids of stone, which stand hollow from the towers. The church is well built, and of a well-ordered architecture, within handsomely paved and adorned."
Detail from “Vue de la Ville de Richelieu…” showing the church “Eglise Notre-Dame de Richelieu”.
(in mirror image)

“Vue de la Ville de Richelieu en Poitou construitte par le Grand cardinal de Richelieu.” 1790. Source: BnF.
(in mirror image)
"To this place belongs an Academy, where, besides the exercise of the horse, arms, dancing, etc., all the sciences are taught in the vulgar French by professors stipendiated by the great Cardinal, who by this, the cheap living there, and divers privileges, not only designed the improvement of the vulgar language, but to draw people and strangers to the town; but since the Cardinal’s death, it is thinly inhabited; standing so much out of the way, and in a place not well situated for health, or pleasure. He was allured to build by the name of the place, and an old house there belonging to his ancestors."
"This pretty town is handsomely walled about and moated, with a kind of slight fortification, two fair gates and drawbridges. Before the gate, toward the palace, is a spacious circle, where the fair is annually kept."
"About a flight-shot from the town is the Cardinal’s house, a princely pile, though on an old design, not altogether Gothic, but mixed, and environed by a clear moat. The rooms are stately, most richly furnished with tissue, damask, arras, and velvet, pictures, statues, vases, and all sorts of antiquities, especially the Cæsars, in oriental alabaster (3) . The long gallery is painted with the famous acts of the Founder; the roof with the life of Julius Cæsar; at the end of it is a cupola, or singing theatre, supported by very stately pillars of black marble. The chapel anciently belonged to the family of the Founder. The court is very ample. The gardens without are very large, and the parterres of excellent embroidery, set with many statues of brass and marble; the groves, meadows, and walks are a real Paradise."

1     the “Grand rue”

3     From “Richelieu”  By R J Knecht – 
“....if paintings were the main decorative element at the Palais-cardinal, sculpture was much in evidence at the chateau of Richelieu. Above the entrance stood an equestrian statue of Louis XIII by Berthelot. In niches flanking the gateway were two ancient statues of Hercules and Mars. On the dome above the gate stood a bronze statue of Fame with a trumpet in each hand, also by Berthelot. Around the main courtyard were many statues, busts and vases in niches. A visitor noted “gods on all sides in the walls” whilst another described the chateau as the ”Pantheon with all the Roman Court”. Some visitors thought the abundance of sculpture was to mask the irregularities in Le Mercier’s building, but it seems more likely that it was more likely to give grandeur to Richelieu’s ancestral home.”