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 20 May 2008

Drawings of the hôtels particuliers of Richelieu

In the book by Philippe Bordon called Richelieu, Ville Nouvelle published 1978 by Dunod in Paris are to be found these two nice drawings of the hôtels particuliers or mansions of Richelieu, and a half-plan of the complete ensemble drawn up by the architects Marcel Brun and Étienne Puget.  They have edited the surveys to show the original condition of the typical hôtels; one in the main range of the Grande Rue and the other, a corner block onto the place du Marché.  The designs follow the general guidance of the  pattern-book of Pierre Le Muet, 'La manière de bien bastir pour toutes sortes de personnes' of 1623, as they interpret the detailed design specification requirements demanded by the Cardinal himself.

Friday 16 May 2008

Next step - A completed by-pass

This image taken from Google Earth shows the aerial view of the town with the layout of the new Richelieu by-pass drawn on.  Although the construction works for the last stage have not started yet, one can see that the farmers involved have adjusted their fields for the alignment and easement of the new road. 
Once this last sector is constructed huge 'euro-trucks' will not have to thunder into the town. At present they have to use the Avenue de Quebec; that is to say the perimeter road just outside the walls. 
Maybe when the by-pass is completed, the new Mayor, Secretary-of-State Novelli, will be able to make more people park outside rather than inside the town's walls, as one would expect in a moated historic town designed originally for the horse and cart.

Thursday 15 May 2008

The tomb of Henry Armand Proust

Your webmaster took the name of Abbé Henry Armand Proust b.1817-d.1897 as his 'avatar' for the publication of this blog.  
Recently we paid a visit to "henriproust's" tomb that is in a prime spot in the cemetary to the north of the parc quinconce at the northern Chinon end of the town of Richelieu.  Quite a grand mausoleum for a parish priest - he must have been popular on earth  - and we hope in heaven too!

Wednesday 14 May 2008

The Cardinal-Duke must have missed this bust in his hunt for statuary for his château.

Bust of Julius Caesar found in Rhone - 13 May 2008

A life-sized bust of Julius Caesar, thought to date back to 46 BC, has been found in the River Rhone near Arles.
The culture minister Christine Albanel said the bust was 'exceptional' and that it was believed to be the oldest representation of the Roman emperor.

Other finds recovered by divers at the site include a marble statue of Neptune, dated to the third century, as well as two smaller, bronze statues, and more research of the area is planned for this summer.

The water system of the Castle and Town - a paper prepared by Arnaud de Saint-Jouan, chief architect of Les Monuments Historiques.

Read this doc on Scribd: ParcChateauWaterRevSaintJ

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Tuesday 13 May 2008

Postcards from about 1910

These postcards from the period before 1914 and show the dusty drowsy state of the town in that era.  Although Richelieu is still 'a bit cut off' from the rest of Touraine and Poitou, 20 km from any other comparable town, at least this isolation is diminished today by motor transportation. 
Before 1914 and popular car ownership, the town relied on its rail connection to Chinon and beyond, constructed in 1880 for the trade in veal for the tables of Paris.  Before that, for the wealthier the carriage or the horse and for the poor, walking.  Note the arrival of early cars in some of the pictures.  They produced some tourism - and the consequent market in postcards.

Friday 2 May 2008

CGI graphics of the fantasy cardinal in war-like garb at the siege of la Rochelle

The dastardly Cardinal will feature in a computer game for which these graphics have been created.  The face seems a little more canine than the famous triple-portrait by Philippe Champaigne - but just think what the Cardinal (or his favourite painter) would have made of computerised special FXs!

Thursday 1 May 2008

Fancy stonework - with the 'Green Man'

This double 'bull's' eye window seems to have been added to a hôtel particulier on the corner of la Grande Rue and rue Traversière. In the eighteenth or nineteenth century? Or maybe it is original from the 1640s. It is odd to see the mediaeval imagery of the Green Man, symbol of the primal forest, feature in the stonework design, rather than a more Classical motif.