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 15 June 2010

the next fesitival of CAPE AND RAPIER

The biennial festival that relives the fantasy of the 17th century of the world of 'The Three Musketeers' takes place on the weekend of 17-18 July 2010.
Henri Proust has attended the most recent three 2004, 2006 and 2008; each more successful than the last, as the crowds grow for this wonderful village fête magnifique.

From Near or Far
(hallo Maxim in St. Petersburg!)


Saturday 12 June 2010


The town of Richelieu is built of the staple materials of the 17th century in Touraine; chalky fieldstone rubble, tuffeau - a very soft whitish limestone, barely more than compacted chalk - and various pierres dures - hardstones - for use in locations where tuffeau's water absorbtion is a problem.  This problem is mainly in foundation work and the first couple of courses above ground level, as can be seen in a change of stone work at low level on all but the humblest constructions.  With slate or tile roof on a oak or chestnut timber charpente, this forms the materials palette of the provincial 17th century.

However (and obviously) the town lived through the aesthetics of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries too, and some of their favourite styles can be found in adaptations to older buildings.  Here, in the dappled light of a hazel nut tree, is a typical piece of 19th century polychromy.  Tuffeau blocks interchanged with five red-brick courses, all embedded in  a much older rendered rubble wall of a rear extension building.

Often the results of this stylistic mélange seem very pretty.....

It may be a motif that is more eighteenth century than nineteenth, as one can see the idea illustrated at the fantasy farm created for Marie-Antoinette at Versailles in the 1780s.

Thursday 3 June 2010

28 Grande Rue re-opens after building works

Number 28 Grande Rue is the hôtel particulier - the mansion - on the Grande Rue that was restored by the TV actor Gerard Klein and his wife.  It was bought by the municipality in 2007 and is now used as a museum example of the 28 identical hôtels that flank the town's main street.  As it had been restored as a home rather than a museum, it was necessary to make certain adaptations to make it conform with public building saftey standards.  The works have lasted most of a year, but now the mansion has re-opened.  The interior (as yet unvisited in its new format by the Abbé Henri Proust) now includes an exhibition of material about the Cardinal and the history of his new town called ESPACE RICHELIEU:.  All this in addition to the municipal Museum at the Mairie - the townhall - at the other end of the street.

The panel on the exterior shows times of access:
May and June:         at weekends                       10 - 12 am, closed for déjeuner (it is France!), 2 - 6 pm
July to September:   everyday                            10 - 12 am, closed for déjeuner, 2 - 6 pm
School holidays, Easter and All Saints Day:          10 - 12 am, closed for déjeuner, 2 - 6 pm

The Abbé will shortly add pictures of the interior, once he actually gets through the door!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

The newly restored façade of 16 Grande Rue

The newly-restored façade of the corner hotêl particulier,16 Grande Rue, has emerged from its scaffold.  The yellow ochre render that has been used is in contrast to the more muted palette that has been the norm in recent Richelieu restoration projects.  This colour echoes that used in the restoration of the Cour des Offices at Fontainbleau.  This metropolitan project was illustrated on this blog last year.
The woodwork will be painted in a mid warm-grey rather than the more normal gris de perle or even the even lighter reflets de perle.