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, 28 August 2007

The head of the Cardinal in 1895

The marble tomb of Richelieu in front of the Altar of the Chapel of the Sorbonnne in Paris. It was sculpted by François Girardon in 1675.

The mummified head of Richelieu photographed in 1895. The situation is described in the article below. Click anywhere on the article's image to read it more easily.

During the French Revolution, Richelieu's body was removed from its tomb for reburial elsewhere, and the mummified front of his head, having been removed and replaced during the original embalming process, was stolen. It ended up in the possession of Nicholas Armez of Brittany by 1796, and he occasionally exhibited the well-preserved face. His nephew, Louis-Philippe Armez, inherited it and also occasionally exhibited it and lent it out for study. In 1866, Napoleon III persuaded Armez to return the face to the government for reinterrment with the rest of Richelieu's body (Murphy, 1995).

Saturday, 25 August 2007

A Memoire of the the mystic last Duke........

THE 8th & LAST DUKE OF RICHELIEU by Swami Nikhilananda

"The Duke of Richelieu, a Marshal of France and scion of the French nobility, died on May 30, 1952, at the age of seventy-six. The eigth Duke was the last to bear this illustrious title.

The full name of the 8th Duke was Marie Odet Jean Armand de Chapelle de Jumilhac, Duc de Richelieu. The title was first conferred upon Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis by Louis XIII. Before the Cardinal died he obtained permission to bequeath the title to his grand nephew, Jean de Vignerot, first Duke of Richelieu, an ancestor of the Marshal. Another of the Duke's ancestors served in the Russian army under Empress Catherine and founded the city of Odessa in the early nineteenth century, subsequently returning to France to serve as Premier under Louis XVIII.

The Duke of Richelieu, born in Paris, was the son of the second Duc Armand de Richelieu and the former Marie Alice Heine, who, after her first husband's death, married Prince Albert of Monaco. He studied at a Jesuit school in France and graduated from the University of Aix-en-Provence. In 1913, he married miss Elinor Douglas Wise, of Baltimore. The ceremony was performed by the late Cardinal Gibbons, who gave the opening benediction at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. The Duchess, who studied voice in France with Mme Emma Eames, the noted American singer, gave many concerts for the benefit of tubercular French soldiers.

In 1930, the Duke presented his chateau and its park of more than one thousand acres, which originally belonged to Cardinal Richelieu, to the university of Paris as a place of rest for French professors and a guest-house for visiting foreign professors.

The Duke travelled extensively in Europe and America and was regarded as an authority on eighteenth century English literature. He could speak fluently in several European languages and was brilliant in conversation. Even in casual talk he was able to draw striking comparisons not only between modern writing and that of the past, but between historical developments of today and yesterday. The Duke was a keen student of politics. I spent many hours with him in political and cultural discussions and thoroughly enjoyed his penetrating wit. He never indulged in small or cheap talk.

I first met the Duke in 1934 when I was crossing over to France. Immediately after the ship had left the pier in New York, I was told by Princess Matchabelli that the Duke of Richelieu earnestly wanted to speak to me. We met after dinner on the deck of the tourist class, by which I was travelling. He said to me that he had known Swami Vivekananda. They had met in Paris in 1900, at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Francis H. Leggett, devoted disciples of the Swamiji. It was the time of the Paris Exposition, in connection with which the late Sir J. C. Bose was the Indian representative at the Congress of Scientists. The Leggetts used to invite notables to their house and entertained them lavishly.

We saw each other many times in New York. Both the Duke and Duchess became fond of me and often invited me to their house for dinner or luncheon, where I met noted men in politics and public life. On several occasions the Duke and Duchess came to the Centre for dinner. The last time I saw the Duke was in Miami, Florida, in April, 1952. We had lunch together and he discussed the present world tension from a philosophical standpoint. He looked very fragile. But as usual he was very animated and excited in conversation. After returning to New York he caught pneumonia, which proved fatal to him.

During the past few years the Duke of Richelieu was in indifferent health. He knew that he was living on borrowed time. We saw his slight body wearing out day by day from an incurable illness. But his power of mind remained unimpaired till the very last. In conversation he often towered high over the intellects of others. Courtesy and culture radiated from every pore of his skin. Whenever he came to our Centre for dinner, he would go to the kitchen, after the meal was over, to thank the cook and the maid personally for the food.
With the passing away of the 8th Duke of Richelieu, a link with the past has been severed. I felt highly honoured when the Duchess requested me to be one of the honorary pall-bearers at his funeral."

Alice Heine, the penultimate Duchess of Richelieu

An article from the New York Times of 1889
Alice Heine (February 10, 1858 – December 22, 1925), styled HSH the Princess of Monaco and the Duchess of Richelieu, was the American-born second wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a great-grandfather of Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Marcel Proust used her as a model for the princesse de Luxembourg in In Search of Lost Time.
She was born Marie Alice Heine at 900 Rue Royale, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Her German Jewish father, Michel Heine, was a scion of a prominent Berlin and Paris banking family and a nephew of poet Heinrich Heine. He had emigrated from Germany to Paris in 1840, moved to New Orleans in 1843, and become a successful financier and real-estate developer. Her mother was Amelie Miltenberger, an architect's daughter, whose family had built three interconnected Miltenberger mansions on rue Royale.
The American Civil War sent the family back to France, where the teenage Alice's youth and beauty, and her family's wealth, made a great impression in Parisian society. A & M Heine, her father's firm, helped finance Napoleon III’s war with Prussia.
After converting from Judaism to Catholicism, Alice married her first husband, Marie Odet Armand Chapelle, Marquis of Jumilhac, 7th Duke of Richelieu, on February 27, 1875. Their only son, Armand, became the 8th and last Duke of Richelieu on the death of his father on June 28, 1880.
Alice's second marriage, to His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, occurred on October 30, 1889. The prince, whose first wife had been a daughter of a Scottish duke, was an oceanographer and during his long journeys at sea, Alice took great interest in the Monegasque opera season.
She brought a strong business acumen, showing an understanding far beyond her years. Having helped put her husband's principality on a sound financial footing, she would devote her energies to making Monaco one of Europe's great cultural centers with its Opera, theater, and the ballet under the direction of the famed Russian impresario, Serge Diaghilev. Her relationship with composer Isidore de Lara resulted in Prince Albert striking her in view of an audience at the Salle Garnier.
The Prince and Princess of Monaco separated judicially on May 30, 1902 (Monaco) and June 3, 1902 (France), but remained married. Upon the prince's death 20 years later, Alice became HSH the Dowager Princess of Monaco. She did not remarry.

These were her titles from birth to death:
Miss Marie Alice Heine (1857–1874)
Her Grace The Marquise of Jumilhac (1874–1879)
Her Grace The Duchess of Richelieu and of Fronsac, Marquise of Jumilhac (1879–1880)
Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Richelieu and of Fronsac, Dowager Marquise of Jumilhac (1880–1889)
Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco (1889–1922)
Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Monaco, Dowager Princess of Monaco (1922–1925)

These were her entire titles:
Her Serene Highness Princess Alice, The Princess of Monaco, Duchess of Richelieu, Fronsac, Valentinois, Mazarin, Mayenne and Estouteville, Princess of Château-Porcien, Marquise of Jumilhac, Baux-de-Provence, Guiscard and Chilly, Countess of Carladès, Thorigny, Longjumeau, Ferrette, Belfort, Thann and Rosemont, Baronness of Buis, Saint-Lô, la Luthumière, Hambye, Massy, le Calvinet and Altkirch, Lady of Saint-Rémy, Matignon and Issenheim.

From TIME Magazine Monday, Apr. 28, 1930:
"Miss Alice Heine of New Orleans became the mother of the present (and last) 8th Duke de Richelieu. Miss Eleanor Douglas Wise of
Baltimore became his wife. But he remains 100% French.
Last week the 8th Duke presented the Château de Richelieu at Richelieu in Touraine to the Sorbonne.
By the terms of gift the château and its 1,000 acres are created a "perpetual retreat" at the disposal of professors of the Sorbonne. At scholarly ease in the magnificent palace, the professors will enjoy among other things the chief product ot the village of Richelieu, "diamonds of the soil," truffles.
Marie Odet Jean Armand de Chapelle de Jumilhac, Duke de Richelieu, and his American duchess usually reside at another country place. Chateau du Haut-Buisson. nearer Paris. His Eminence the Cardinal Richelieu lies buried in the Chapel of the Sorbonne which he built and in which members of the House of Richelieu have the right to be married and buried."

The time sequence:
1 One of the inheritors of Richelieu emigrated at the Revolution and his goods were conficated in 1792.
2 Resituted much damaged to the family in 1805, the Domaine was put up for sale and bought by a goods merchant in 1832 by the name of Boutron, who acted like a real vandal and demolished the castle in order to sell the building materials. Miraculously, a range of the flank buildings escaped the massacre; the ‘Dôme’ a manege of the stable block as well as the Orangerie and the Cellars.
3 In 1852 a intermediate owner, a Mr Laurence, had a large house built called the ‘Pêtit Château’.
4 In 1877 the Park and the whole Domaine were reassembled into their territorial unity by the banker Michel Heine, who had become, following the marriage of his daughter Alice, the father-in-law of the 7th Duke of Richelieu, then the last representative member of the family.
5 In 1930, Marie-Odet-Armand Chapelle, marquis de Jumilhac, 8th duke of Richelieu, being without decendant, made the donation of the Domaine to the University of Paris, in order to show the connection with him who, before being Minister, had been rector of the College of the Sorbonne and the French university of today.

Thus it was the Alice Heine 'dowry' that made it possible to reinstate the domainal park.

Thank you Michel Heine for your profitable part in Napoleon III's battle with the Prussians, and the paternal affection that saw the Richelieu domainal estate resurrected for the benefit of your pretty daughter, her aristo husband, the Ville Idéale, the Sorbonne and today's general visitor.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Videos of the Chateau de Richelieu

NAUTILUS have produced short videos of the now-demolished Château of Cardinal Richelieu from their huge computer model. You may find these videos on DAILY MOTION by clicking on the three links, 5-, 6-, and 7- in the INTERESTING LINKS panel to your left.
The three videos show different stages of the development of the computer modelling of the Château. NAUTILUS started wth the building itself, then the gardens and most recently the interior.

A quick translation of NAUTILUS' comments:

"This innovative virtual computer model is the only one in Europe to reconstitute completely and in real-time the outside and now even the inside of a building, in this particualr case the Cardinal's disappeared château - it will be equally interesting to either the scientist or the architectural student. This reconstruction has been validated by eminent conservation historians by creating it from the extensive contemporary historical records. Of technical interest is the manipulation of the huge computer files required and their final projection in stereoscope - it is fascinating to both for the student and the tourist. The computer model is already being projected in front of the public, and forms part of the established tourist's tour of the town and park at the IDEAL TOWN of Richelieu in Indre-et-Loire."

Infographie 3D temps réel
19 rue Léo Lagrange - Ingénirium
53000 Laval

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Google Earth aerial views of the IDEAL TOWN

Here are two images from 'Google Earth'; the first of the town and château park looking north towards Chinon, and the second of the Cité Idéale 'intra-muros' - within the walls. Perhaps the little town has little interest to military planners of today as the resolution is poor and the information very crude - in former times Count-Duke of Olivares, Cardinal Richelieu's Hapsburg opposite number in Madrid, would have asked the CIA for more detail.
Town of Richelieu - Latiitude: 47 deg 00' 50" N, Longitude: 0 deg 19' 20" E, Elevation: 55m above sea level datum.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Richelieu's MENAGERIE

MENAGERIE is the term for a historical form of keeping wild and exotic animals in human captivity and therefore a predecessor of the modern zoological garden. The term was foremost used in seventeenth century France originally for the management of the household or domestic stock, but later primarily for an aristocratic or royal animal collection. The French-language "Methodical Encyclopaedia" of 1782 defines a menagerie as an "establishment of luxury and curiosity."
A MENAGERIE was mostly connected with an aristocratic or royal court and it was thus sited within a garden or park of a palace. The aristocratic menageries have to be distinguished from the later zoological gardens since they were founded and owned by aristocrats whose intention was not primarily of scientific and educational interest. These aristocrats wanted to illustrate their power and wealth, because exotic animals, alive and active, were less common, more difficult to acquire, and more expensive to maintain. During the seventeenth century, when the palace of Versailles was built, Louis XIV of France also erected a menagerie within the palace’s park. Most of it was constructed in 1664 when the first animals were introduced, although the interior fittings were not finished until 1668-70. Situated in the south-west of the park, it was Louis XIV’s first major project at Versailles and one of several pleasure houses that were gradually assembled around the palace. It represented the first menagerie according to Baroque style.This design of MENAGERIE was adopted by many other monarchs across Europe, particularly by the Habsburg monarchy in Austria. In 1752 Francis I erected his famous Baroque menagerie in the park of Schönbrunn Palace near Vienna.

The little MENAGERIE situated in the domainal park of Château de Richelieu does not have many truely exotic animals anymore, but those that are represented - goats, various deer, fancy birds, and other small animals - make a very charming living addition to the beauties of the park. The domainal park is now maintained by the Departmental Council of Indre-et-Loire and the Universities of Paris.
The deer in particular like carrots, but the the goats are a bit sniffy (in more ways than one..).

Thursday, 9 August 2007

The trees in the new square?

Tree grills are located between the car parking spaces in the Macadam surface. Locations for further trees actually within the square's paved area have been constructed, but filled temporarily(?) with setts until planting time. In mid-winter the new sqaure of the place du Marché will be planted out. Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus) will be used. This species of tree can be clipped well and are a tough type, of which the 'wild' version is seen everywhere in the domainal park. We show a young clipped hornbeam sapling with its bright green foliage. Many people bemoan the absence of the sappy lime trees that formerly dominated the square, and find it hard to imagine that even these trees were once planted and grew from saplings. But on hot summer days their shade will be welcome, and the trees will somewhat mask the seemingly irrepressible desire to park one's car in the square for convenience. If people really want a parking lot instead of a gracious town square, they should go to the local 'Mousquetaires' super-market forecourt to luxuriate in unlimited 'blacktop'.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Auberge "Le Cardinal"

The restaurant "Le Cardinal" is located next to the Châtellerault gate at the south end of the walled town, looking out over the moat. Much of the old moat has been filled in at this point, and the restaurant has 'al fresco' dining outside in the summer, looking out at the marble statue of their namesake.
3, rue des Ecluses. For reservations ring:
Tél. : 02 47 58 18 57
Fax : 02 47 58 23 01

Mrs Annick Racinet, proprietrix and maître d'hôtel of the town's main restaurant welcomes you to her Auberge.
The restaurant is very popular and with good reason - most weekends the dining room is buzzing with diners; often parties of celebration, birthdays and other groups. Access by car is very easy as there is plenty of space in the place du Cardinal which lies between the town gates and the entry to the Château park, right in front of the restaurant entance.
Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Beautiful decay

While much of the CITÉ IDÉALE seems to be being renovated at present, there remain many spots of dereliction. Such is the overall quality of the urbanism created long ago by the Cardinal, his architects and builders, these delipdated properties seem to have a romantic elegance that would be lost once the builders arrive. Such was Venice after the Napoleonic wars when the poet Lord Byron and his friends started the aesthetic romance of beautiful decay.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Pierre Le Muet (1591 - 1669)

'Maniere de bien bastir pour touttes sortes des personnes' was published in Paris in 1623 ('The Art of Fair Building', London 1670) . Following the examples the Italian Serlio, and Frenchmen Philibert de l'Orme in 1567 and Jacques de Cerceau earlier in 1559, this book of design theory and template examples of various degrees of ordinary houses (rather than Palazzi) demonstrated for the French client and builder of the reign of Louis XIII what domestic buildings of solid quality should be like. They show the inimitable fusion of French XVI century renaissance style with a stricter Roman classicism that became the characteristic of the architecture of the Louis XIII period. The steep pitched and slated roofs of the earlier epoch were cross-bred with the research into classical examples that was being carried out in Rome, the dominant centre of the period in the fine and applied arts. Richelieu was very concerned to be up-to-date and innovative in all his projects and would have known of the publication of this 'how-to' book at just the time that the town in oarticular was being conceived and designed in detail. The IDEAL TOWN of Richelieu, laid out by the brothers Lemercier, exemplifies this style everywhere in its grand buildings. The only significant buidings outside 'period' are the four pavilions that were built in the 1820s that extend and further support at each corner the extraordinary 1620 timber-framed market Halle.

Friday, 3 August 2007

From Lord to lag in four easy steps

Connrad Black And His Wife, Barbara Amiel, Dressed In 18th Century Style Costumes for ball given By Prince And Princess Michael Of Kent At Kensington Palace, London. Picture: Getty Images

by JEREMY WATSON of the 'Scotland on Sunday'

IF ANY image of Conrad Black is to outlive his new infamy it surely will be the one of him taken as he arrived at a fancy-dress party dressed as Cardinal Richelieu. His glamorous wife, Barbara Amiel, on his arm as Marie Antoinette, nothing captured the newspaper mogul's keen sense of his own importance better than this 2000 snap of Black decked out in the red robes of France's 17th-century L'EMINENCE ROUGE.

As Black, a historian and converted Catholic, would have known, the cardinal's achievements have been acknowledged as consolidating royal power - that of King Louis XIII - and crushing domestic factions, although some of his methods did not stand up to ethical scrutiny. Much the same could be said of Black, who devoted a great deal of his time as head of a multinational media conglomerate to accomplish the same goals.

When Richelieu died in 1642, with his reputation as a clergyman and great statesman intact, Pope Urban said: "If God exists, Cardinal Richelieu will have to answer for many things. If not... then, yes, he will have done well in life."

There, the similarities end. Last week, 62-year-old Black - also known as Lord Black of Crossharbour, a Conservative peer - was found guilty of three charges of fraud and one of obstructing justice, and is now facing up to 35 years in jail. Justice arrived in his lifetime at the hands of an American jury; divine retribution will have to wait.

Black, the son of a wealthy Canadian businessman, told anyone who would listen during his 14-week trial in Chicago that he was on "an inexorable march to victory... my strategy is working".

Yesterday, he woke up in his suite at the city's plush Ritz-Carlton hotel to the knowledge that his strategy had failed. That he was not already behind bars is down to Judge Amy St Eve's acceptance that there would be no profit in the disgraced tycoon going on the run. Instead he was stripped of his British passport and ordered to stay in the Chicago area until a fresh bail hearing on Thursday. Given his circumstances, it is likely that Black will remain out of jail until November 30, the date scheduled for formal sentencing.

an Andy Warhol version of the church facade

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Fireworks on Sunday 15 July 2007 for Bastille Day - some SIDEWAYS

tabac Le Cardinal

Now that the place du Marché is more or less finished, the shops round the square can breathe again as their clientele finally enjoy the new pavements rather than being inconvenienced by the works. And new facilities are beginning to appear. The 'tabac Le Cardinal', located next to the Church on an important corner, is being restored to be a 'zinc bar' to add to hospitality of the town. Not quite open yet, but through the window l'EMINENCE ROUGE snapped a photo of the works within! The exterior still needs a little work to throw off the delapidations of time!

How long will France take to ban smoking in public places? - are the 'tabacs' of France to be banned? Are Gauloises and Gitanes no longer part of the Patrimoine Nationale?

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The restaurant called Fosse Saint Ange

Miriam and Cyr run a small restaurant called the Fossé Saint Ange, so popular that it is hard to get a table without pre-booking (tel: 02 47 95 38 82). It is located next to the Porte de Chatêllerault, the town's southern gate, among a clutch of restaurants which together almost comprise 'un pôle de restauration'. A visit to Cyr & Miriam is a theatrical experience as the artist/restauranteur couple have created a very charming location that is matched by fine reasonably priced menu that changes each day with a personal hospitality to match.

Mine host Cyr says hello to l'Eminence Rouge; we finally got the movie to be the right way up - bravo Henri Proust!