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.

Wednesday 30 May 2007

The 28 mansions or Hotels Particuliers on the Grande Rue

.......The Cardinal donates the plots but imposes a strict plan, as Henri IV had done for the Place Dauphine and for the Place Royale (now the Place Vendome, Paris). Richelieu-townplanner fixes a restricting design specification. The house must look out both onto the street and a courtyard, with a façade width onto the street of ten toises (about 20 metres) and a depth of 8.5 metres. The dimensions of the entry arch were also given; the carriageway must be 6 pieds wide (2 metres); on one side there should open a good room with a chimneypiece. The entire disposition of the building is in this way determined, with the location of the stair, that of the stable, that of the privy (of which even the dimensions are fixed, 12 pieds deep (that is to say 4 metres), with 2 metres under the key stone of the vault). The hôtel included a piano nobile above which an attic shelters the domestic staff. The specification of materials is composed of the same precise detail. The candidate clients for the construction have hardly any choice in the enterprise either; they must go to one of the masons that Cardinal Richelieu had appointed for the job and who charge a price of 10,000 livres per house.

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