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, 17 July 2018

Thursday, 3 May 2018

A weekend course on engraving, given by Cyr Boitard


Weekend courses on print making,
given at the Teinturerie, rue des Écluses, 37120 Richelieu,
i - 12 and 13 May 2018
ii - 9 and 10 June 2018
iii - 25 and 26 August 2018

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Cheers! and bon appetit! - Braslou Bière

'Clifton Porter', (5.6% alc.), with pasta bolognese
Taste of toffee!

Not filtered,
Not Pasteurised,
refermented in the bottle,
Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, honey, yeast.


Brasserie de Braslou
5 Les Varennes, 37120 BRASLOU

Restoring the station for the new 'voie verte' cycle path

Richelieu Station was the terminus of a railway line that connected the cité idéale across the Vienne to Chinon and thence onward to Paris. The line was constructed in the 1860s mainly to transport 'white' veal quickly to the hungry markets in Paris. This trade collapsed, and did not really find a significant replacement through the twentieth century, although the line itelf remained a useful passenger line for the local townsfolk. The line held on over the years until 2010 or so. At the end of its life it continued feebly in the amateur stewardship of Trains à Vapeur de Touraine, who has a impressive collection of both locomotives and carriages.

The town has now developed the old trackways to be a easy cycle way to connect the town with Chinon, a neighbour with a strong touristic and historic character that compliments that of Richelieu itself.  While the tracks have been removed and the cycle way laid out, we have all waited to see what is proposed for the few stations along the line.

Below we can see how the Richelieu station is being comprehensively restored and refurbished.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

'A small hole has opened in the roof'

The Hôtel Faisan - the Pheasant Hotel - is located on the place du Marché. It has been derelict for a long time - at least since 2004. It is owned by someone who seems unwilling to redevelop if they are required by the town hall and Bâtiments de France to remove the upper second floor 'extension' that offers five windows that overlook the square.  Rather sad signs in dirty windows predicting a 'renaissance' for this building get dustier each year as the whole is neglected.  Windows get broken and the are boarded up, emphasising dereliction in this conspicuous location for the town.

Maybe with one hotel already flanking the square, Le Puits Doré - the Golden Well - viability for a second hotel cannot be justified by the current flow of visitors and tourists.  Who knows?

But dereliction caused by bad weather has caused rot in roof rafters and the collapse of a sector of the tiling.

It really is a shame that a sensible compromise cannot be found to allow the restoration of this building. If the square needs 'correct' façades as an instrument of the town's historic restoration policy, it seems that the Mairie could find some compensatory property advantage elsewhere.


Thursday, 12 April 2018

The 'Dome' in the parc of Richelieu

The 'dome' is the last remaining part of the 'avant cour' of the château de Richelieu. It was a large former manège - or horse riding hall - that led through to the exercising yard behind.  Until recently the building was being used as a venue for talks and concerts, located at a comfortable and pretty walk from the cité idéale itself. The original building had been considerably changed in the 19th century as this dome was formerly sandwiched between other modules of the courtyard perimeter, then demolished. Under the management of the Heine family, solid abutments were added to the four corners to make the building stable, and the east and west walls were created and elevated over the 'stumps' of the former flanking pavilions.  It was put back in shape as best could be, very much in the optimistic manner of the ebullient 19th century taste.

The roof in particular has become unstable since the days of the Heine family and now the whole building is currently under restoration.  This year, the August music festival will be obliged to relocate to other premises.

Pictures below show the current state of the works.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Friday, 9 March 2018

Braslou Bière



Tarifs : 2,50 € l'unité de 33 centilitres ; 12 € le pack de 6. 
Contact : brasserie de Braslou, 
5, les Varennes, à Braslou, 
tél., e-mail : tommy@brasloubiere.com


Friday, 23 February 2018


Porte de Châtellerault

a snowy garden within the walls

Porte de Chinon

Chinon castle across the Vienne river

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Abbé Henri Proust's favourite tipple - Decanter Magazine

Top 75 'Best Buy' world wines of 2017. Domaine de La Noblaie - Pierre de Tuf 

Domaine de La Noblaie is the favourite supplier of Chinon wine to the old prelate, Henri Proust (died 1902). It makes a special Chinon - 'Pierre de Tuf' - in an open bowl gouged into the tuffeau rock of the winemaker's cellar. Surprisingly, this age old method seems to work fine, with the grape skin crust protecting the developing wine from the air's oxygen above.

"Glug Glug" to paraphase the Master of Chinon - François Rabelais...

Front cover of the magazine
January 2018

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Voie Verte

The new voie-verte ; a touristic device to link Chinon and Richelieu

Chinon-Richelieu voie-verte or greenway
Don't get stuck fast on the  old railway platforms!

The rehabilitation works of the stations that mark the route will start on Thursday, 14 December 2017. It is an important step before the complete opening planned for the spring 2018.

The railway itself has not run since 2004 as a consequence of the rail traffic ban on the dangerous old sub-standard rail track alignments.

This Thursday the first rehabilitation works on the stations strung along the old Chinon-Richelieu railway line are due to begin. It is an important next step in the exciting project, costed at 1.3 million euros*, for the Greenway expected to open in the spring of 2018.

The asphalt surface of the 20km long track linking the cité idéale of the Cardinal to the mediaeval town of Chinon has now been laid, and it already allows pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the complete  route. However, there is still some way to go to see this ambitious project keep all its promises, as it has been originally conceived by Hervé Novelli, the mayor of Richelieu.

'More than a bike path'

Ten 'stations' must be created and equipped located between the Royal Fortress of Chinon and the model town of Richelieu. Staging points with themes - each one interactive - celebrating the historical inheritances,  local products and the lush Touraine landscapes.
'We will make sure to 'add value' to this Green track, so that it ends up much more than a simple bike path' says Isabelle Pain, Vice-President of tourism for the Community of Communes, Touraine Val de Vienne (TVV)
And that will apply to each of the stations. If the project for renovation of Ligré-Rivière has fallen a bit behind for the moment - for lack of agreed current operators - the other three - Richelieu - Champigny-sur-Veude - Coutureau - will be 'deliverable' for June 2018.

50,000 people are expected from the first 2018 cycling and walking season along the rivers Veude and Vienne.

Snacking in Richelieu
The hospitality activity sheltering in the old Richelieu station will be let by the municipality. It should be a easy location for a quick snack. Neither the name of the operator nor the exact nature of the proposed service are known at the moment. A bike rental service is also anticipated there.

A 'Tea Room' in Beauvais
The manor house of Beauvais in Ligré, which actually borders the Greenway, might well profit from the much increased tourist traffic. A concept of a tea room is being studied. One thing is certain: 'the cycle track can only be an advantage for us' rejoices François Dumarçay. At present only 15% of its clientèle comes from cycling tourism.

Coutureau, showcase for the Château de Rivau. 
The stop of Coutureau 'would give a foretaste of the universe of the castle'. This is the scenario created by Patricia Laigneau, châtelaine of the mediaeval Rivau castle nearby, which sees a showcase simultaneously giving 'economic benefits both for the monument itself and its territory'. Hopefully sufficient to boost even further a 2017 attendance figure  of 55,000 visitors.
'Everything will depend on the promotion that will be made concerning the Greenway' responds Patricia Laigneau. The Rivau team is waiting for an answer in January.....

An extensive gîte in Ligré.
How to welcome twenty people or so in the old adapted station of Ligré-Rivière? Work should begin here in January to result in the opening of a half-distance gîte. It will be run by Touraine Val de Vienne, in partnership with the municipality of Ligré.

*From of a total of 3.6 million euros, of which 740,000 € is borne by TVV.

Posted on 14/12/2017 at 04:55 | Updated on 14/12/2017 at 04:55

Voie verte Chinon-Richelieu : ne pas rester à quai

Les travaux de réhabilitation des gares qui jalonnent le parcours démarrent ce jeudi. Une étape importante avant l’ouverture prévue au printemps.

Le train n’est plus passé là depuis 2004 et l’interdiction de circulation sur la voie.

Ce jeudi, les premiers travaux de réhabilitation des gares qui bordent l’ancienne voie ferrée Chinon-Richelieu doivent débuter.

Une étape importante estimée à 1,3 million d’euros (*) pour une voie verte censée ouvrir au printemps.

L’enrobé des 20 km de parcours reliant la cité du cardinal à Chinon a été posé, qui permet déjà aux piétons et cyclistes de profiter du tracé. Il reste toutefois un peu de chemin à parcourir pour voir ce projet ambitieux, pensé par Hervé Novelli, tenir toutes ses promesses.

“ Plus qu’une piste cyclable ” Dix « stations » doivent être aménagées et équipées entre la forteresse royale et Richelieu. Des étapes à thèmes – intéractives notamment – de valorisation du patrimoine, des produits locaux ou des paysages.
« Nous veillons à apporter des plus-values à ce parcours, pour qu’il soit beaucoup plus qu’une piste cyclable », explique Isabelle Pain, vice-présidente chargée du tourisme pour la communauté de communes Touraine Val de Vienne (TVV).
Et cela passera par les gares. Si la rénovation de Ligré-Rivière a pris du retard, faute de candidats, les trois autres (Richelieu, Champigny-sur-Veude, Coutureau) doivent « être livrables » pour juin.

50.000 personnes sont espérées dès la première saison entre Veude et Vienne.

Snacking à Richelieu. L’activité abritée par la gare de Richelieu sera confiée par délégation de service public. Il devrait s’agir d’un espace de restauration rapide. Ni le nom de l’opérateur ni la nature exacte du service proposé ne sont pour le moment connus. Un loueur de vélos est également évoqué.
Salon de thé à Beauvais ? Le manoir de Beauvais, à Ligré, qui borde la voie verte, profitera-t-il de l’affluence annoncée ? Un concept de salon de thé est étudié. Une chose est sûre : le parcours « ne peut être qu’un avantage pour nous », se réjouit François Dumarçay. 15 % de sa clientèle provient du tourisme à vélo.

Coutureau, vitrine du Rivau. La halte de Coutureau « donnerait un avant-goût de l’univers du château ». Tel est le scénario échafaudé par Patricia Laigneau, châtelaine du Rivau tout proche, qui y voit une vitrine synonyme « de retombées économiques pour le monument et le territoire ». Suffisant pour booster un peu plus une fréquentation 2017 de 55.000 visiteurs ?

« Tout dépendra de la promotion qui sera faite autour de la voie verte », répond Patricia Laigneau. Le Rivau attend une réponse en janvier.

Un gîte à Ligré. Il est question d’accueillir vingt personnes dans la gare de Ligré-Rivière. Les travaux devraient démarrer en janvier pour aboutir à l’ouverture d’un gite d’étape. C’est Touraine Val de Vienne, en partenariat avec la commune de Ligré, qui en aura la gestion.
(*) Sur un total de 3,6 millions, dont 740.000 € à charge de TVV.

Publié le 14/12/2017 à 04:55 | Mis à jour le 14/12/2017 à 04:55

Christine Chichery Quoi de la petite gare de Champigny-sur-Veude ! 
La commune a également de beaux projets pour les visiteurs de ce lieu réhabilité !
Faire découvrir notre patrimoine architectural, artistique et végétal. 
Des expos seront prévues sur notre Sainte Chapelle, Le peintre Soutine, notre jardin d’Iris de Collection et bien d’autres encore !...See more

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