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 14 March 2024

The new 'Esprit Béguinage' in the place des Réligieuses

The former school buildings in the place des Réligieuses have been updated to provided simple but co-operative apartments for individuals. This is known as 'ésprit béguinage'. The tidy new buildings have been restored immaculately.

Looking west from the place du marché - towards Loudun - at sunset

Thursday 19 January 2023

Not many posts made recently! But the requests pour in for more content.

 TF says that Alexander is disappointed that so few posts are lodged on the 'Eminence Rouge' blog recently. 

Well here is one made for him!


Thursday 1 December 2022

Thursday 27 October 2022

Emmaus Chinon goes up in flames! Monday 24 October 2022 - in the evening

The inner open-shed part of the Emmaus charitable installation in Chinon-St.Lazare was destroyed by flames on Monday.  Emmaus, a Church organisation, runs markets for house clearance items with the funds received going to Charity. Most of us have visited the institution, partly for fun, partly to find interesting old things of all sorts. No one was hurt or injured, thank goodness. Here we see several branches of the local fire brigades combatting the flames.

Accident? Arson?


Sunday 31 July 2022

Cape and Rapier 2022


Monday 13 September 2021

A new floor in the NW town walls tower.

A new floor has been laid onto the original 1630s first floor beams of the North West corner tower of Richelieu's girdling walls. The floor level was raised back to the original level, using floor laths and a structural floor of rather modern! 'OSB' - organised strand board. This ensures a strong and flat bearing surface to the old wobbly skeleton of old floor/ceiling beams. We have been told that the fine new floor boards themselves are of poplar wood.

The next small step will be the restoration of the two fireplaces that are both quite dilapidated, and need many new fire-safe tiles and bricks to complete.  Two cast-iron 'plaques' at the rear wall and two pairs of large firedogs are required so the chimneys can finally be used again, after a very long lapse. The chimneys above must have been restored or rebuilt in the 19th century, as must have been the roof itself Both seem in relatively good condition.

Then  - - what to do with the now-rotten lime plastering that barely adheres to the walls and causes endless cascades of dust and dirt and filth?  The cut masonry too needs detailed repair from the effects of 500 years use!

The little project rolls on! Many thanks to all the contributing artisans for their support and hard work!

looking northwards to the occulus window

the staircase handrail and the first floor fireplace.


Saturday 7 August 2021

Nocturne Gourmande - Friday 6 August 2021

Everyman has supper together in the place du Marché

Each year an evening is set aside for local caterers to 'feed the multitudes'. In Covid-19 year 2, everyone had to be cautious but it seems that there is much less hazard in the open air.  Many or even most of us are now double-innoculated. Everyone enjoyed this favourite annual public event. 
 My dish was 10 euro paella.....

Itinerant musical entertainment

Young and old alike, partying together....


Wednesday 4 August 2021

Pictures from 'Les Cardinales' - antiques on the Grande Rue, Richelieu

A group of four children playing on a stile
Unnamed artist with original frame

A pair of picture frames!

The picture was bought for 290 euros at
Les Cardinales 12 Grande Rue 37120 Richelieu


Tuesday 3 August 2021

After the blaze.....

The three houses which were recently burnt out by fire on the Route de Tours have been secured and await full restoration. The carriageway in front of them was closed for several weeks while the fire ravaged walls were stabilised. Instablity was the result of the lack of roof timbers that had given lateral restraint to the front street facade.


Monday 2 August 2021

The Tour à l'angle is finally in use

The Cité Idéale's girdling wall NW corner tower can now be used practically, as he new floor and staircase make it all accessible. The little tower is now kept locked by the new entry door, but several keys have been offered to it new guardians. The completely replaced staircase leads to the upper floor - accessible for the first time in decades (centuries?), but the upper floor awaits its new surface flooring boards that will permit normal access and loading. We trust the restoration will continue so that this little building, unchanged in essence since it was built at the cost of the French Crown in the 1630s, is fully and practically useful to the present day.

The tower's interior - new floor; new staircase, hospitality!

A little country feast for new visitors

Upstairs awaits new floor boarding

Midsummer gardening

New authentic windows - painted in 'oxblood'

The first floor's occulus window (left open!!)