The Association Richelieu XVIIe-XXIe was set up by a group of local enthusiasts of the cité idéale who hope to make a contribution to the recent developments and restorations, and in particular to provide a conduit for private patronage and finance of aspects of the town that have fallen into dereliction or general neglect.
In their first year of 2009 they hoped that they could stimulate and inspire the restoration of the Porte de Chinon, the northerly gate of the town. It was thought that this neglected structure, in the stewardship of the municipality, could be restored in such a way as to provide a truly iconic image for the town that might encapsulate the splendid and picturesque qualities of the cardinal's concept though modern digital media, now so important in the 21st century. They remain hopeful that the attention lavished on this structure will finally catalyse a project for its comprehensive restoration.
The Mairie has apparently responded positively to the idea of the digging-out of the moat at this point to make watery base to the composition of the gate, gate-houses and the flanking town walls. One day soon....
In 2011, their attention is now drawn to a more modest objective: the restoration of the 'false gate' to the town; one of the 6 original gates that were constructed, but the only one that did not lead to a thoroughfare and on to a destination, as it was blocked by the huge ducal hunting parc. This High Baroque composition at the end of the vista from the Loudun gate is designed with a scale and flamboyance that make it imposing even at the distances at which it will be perceived - often several hundred metres. Behind today's humble timber gate are sluices to the Mable river that encircles the town, a bridge into the parc and a more recent electrical sub-station.
On the right hand side the gate's original 'pepperpot' has just been carefully improved will the full rigours of Bâtiments de France and their magnificent representative architecte. The left-hand pepperpot has been absorbed into a later structure - a works - apparently recently sold and bought. This bit of dereliction needs a little action, please!
This gate has a very strong presence as it lies on the EW axis of the place du Marché. It is probably the most Mannerist element in the town's design. In its own way it is bien grandiose.
We all hope that the Association Richelieu XVIIe-XXIIe will find more traction for this project than they did with the Porte de Chinon, and that their Association can propose and execute a real benefit to the town as a calling card to larger projects and propositions in the future.
|from the Loudun Gate|
|from the place Louis XIII|
|the Mannerist composition|
|The gate's canopy and the sad old masonry|