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.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Retail shops (3) - the Blublu Company of Richelieu - Artisanal Soapmakers

The soap shop has its own art gallery next door (to the right) that displays local artist's work.

Soaps are actually made on the premises.
€45 a kilo! or €4.50 per 100 grams!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A view from the parc threading the entire cité idéale

Click on the picture for a very large detailed version


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

a traction avant called 'Célestine'

This 1953 Citroën traction avant - front wheel drive - is called Célestine by her proud owner. But why? This is what Wikipedia makes of Célestine; 6 old Popes; a 'new age' best seller à la Dan Brown, an Icelandic rock band.......

Sunday, 25 October 2009

4 more postcards of old Richelieu

Claire et Nick have sent versions of four more postcards to add to our archive of views 'from the olden days'.
The first of the gatehouse of the porte de Loudun....

Then a card of the church and main square the place du Marché in its old layout...

Then the Grande Rue looking north from the place du Marché...

and finally the then shopping street of rue de la Galère.

Merci Claire.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The colours of Touraine - 2

The buildings are all made of whitish tuffeau limestone that has a faded yellow-grey tone.  Windows, shutters and doors are usually painted one of many mid-greys, and general lack of maintenence adds an antiquing effect that sludges these somber colours further.  Roofs are of grey slate. Rooflights - lucarnes - are built of untreated greyed-out oak. This shop front first floor, jammed up against the stone wall of the village church at Bourgeuil - famous for its AOC wine - exemplifies this grisaille* colour palette, the background to life in Touraine, precisely.

In the market place, the colours of the soap stall however do the opposite; a riot of waxy soapy tints.

*grisaille noun; in art, a method of painting in gray monochrome, typically to imitate sculpture; a painting or stained-glass window in this style.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: French, from gris ‘gray.’

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Richelieu's Fontainebleau - 2 - Wall sculpture

In one of the wings of the palace at Fontainebleau built by Henri IV in 1606-9, one can see examples of the façade treatment similar to that of the old lost château de Richelieu. The walls were interspersed with niches - both circular and semi-cylindric, that framed statues and busts of antique heros and heroines, both mythic and historic. 

In the old engraving of the castle below this can be seen in the courtyard part-elevation lower right. It is hard to visualise this rather 'bling', seemingly over-decorated manner.  It doesn't seem so exaggerated in reality.  At Richelieu the statuary would have been inserted in an all-cut-stone ashlar wall rather than in polychrome brick/stone as at 'rural' Fontainebleau.

From Éminence Rouge

Have a look at this video of a CAD recreation of the château de Richelieu that shows the way it was decorated with ancient statuary. Not bad for just a few bits and bytes.