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, 21 March 2017

Clearing the carp pond

The parc of the cardinal duc de Richelieu was reborn in the nineteenth century when the Heine family reassembled the by-then fragmented post-revolutionary portions of the ancient parc 'probably' to the designs of the well-known Parisian landscape architects, the Buhler Brothers. This firm had assumed a role of national importance as, with the invention of the railway system, they could now ply their aristocratic trade over the whole of geographic France. The parc and estate were reconstituted as part of the dowry gift to the then duke of Richelieu, who had taken the hand of the beautiful and rich banker's daughter, Alice Heine.

(Another landed estate re-designed by the Buhlers is located at Azay le Ferron, not too far away from Richelieu.) 

In the location of the historic castle's basse cour and avant cour - the outer and inner arrival courtyards - they built a large but shallow carp pond to act as a reflecting pool on the layout's main axis.

It is surrounded by the large allées of plane trees, now grown to full height.  These huge trees dump their autumn leaves into the pond each year, and every decade or so the parc's stewards have to clear all the rotting sludge out. Quite a task! The pond is finally restocked with fish.

Below a few pictures of the task half completed, with pressure hoses cleaning up the central fountain.

Where can we find authenication of the designers of the Parc de Richelieu?

"Eugène (1822-1907) and Denis Bühler (1811-1890), were born in Clamart into a Protestant family. At their father’s death, Denis was obliged to take over the family business and became a nursery gardener. Eugène studies garden landscapes at the Versailles horticultural school until they both settle in Paris in order to design parks and gardens.

1842 Their first project at Kernevez in Britany, was followed by many others in the area such as the parks of the châteaux of Combourg, Bonnefontaine, Briantais, then Oberthür, Bois-Cornillé… They restructure the Gardens of la Tête d’Or in Lyon in 1857, of the Domaine de la Grenade à Saint Selve in 1859, of the Château of Courson, Essonne in1860, of Thabor in Rennes in 1868 and the gardens of Prébendes d’Oé in Tours in 1872, followed by the college St François de Sales in Evreux in 1883. 

During the end of the XIXth century, the Bühlers start their projects in the south of France and specifically in the Hérault region in Languedoc.

They design the parks of : the du Domaine of Verchant, the Château of Raissac, Libouriac and the ''Plateau des Poètes'' in Béziers around 1880. The gardens of the Château de Brochon, Côte d’Or, in 1885, is followed by la Sallière in 1886 and the ''Parc Bordelais'' in Bordeaux… The Bühler brothers make a particular statement by planting rare and exotic species in their landscaped gardens. 

Their conception of a garden:
The alleys or paths of their gardens were designed in harmonious curves and lines, essential to its general beauty. They studied the natural irregularities of the ground which remained the frame of their garden landscape. Trees, flowers, bushes then become the important elements of their style. Rare species are planted on the lawns to be seen by all. Trees are planted according to their shapes and colours to maximise perspectives. Bushes and beds of flowers, well chosen and local to the area, are planted near the house. The garden seems natural, but the influence of designers is visible. Shrubs are designed in elliptic shapes. Water is an essential element of the garden’s harmonious design with waterfalls, ponds, rivers and fountains… all appearing in their most natural way."


Monday, 6 March 2017

!!!! TODAY ONLY !!!!

it's the Duke of Burgundy wot dunnit, honest!!
Not les poor Rosbifs....

Monday, 23 January 2017

Playing with Prisma

These versions of the photo below were made using the free 'app' called Prisma.

The porte de chinon at the northern end of the town looking south from the new roundabout.
the original snap


Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Office of Tourism

Sunlight is 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