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.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The church tower

The bell tower, looking South, supporting a pair of zinc-faced obelisks
Note the charming access stair pepperpot!

The only existing building directly by the hand of the King's premier architecte, Jacques Lermercier, is the church, Nôtre Dame de Richelieu, on the place du Marché.  The rest of the town's original major edifices are to designs prepared by his brothers or Jean Marot, the well-known 17th century architect/engraver.  The grandiose ducal château itself, also by young Jacques, was finally demolished in the 1830s.

A curious fact is that this church faces West, i.e. the sunset, rather than the city of Jerusalem to the East, the direction of sunrise and, by analogy, resurrection.  When Jacques' English contemporary royal architect, Inigo Jones, was faced by a similar layout problem in the plans for the new Covent Garden in London, he ensured that the altar of the actor's church, St Paul's Covent Garden, actually faced east but had a ceremonial portico facing west  onto the square (under which Audrey Hepburn was to frolic as a London flower-seller in 'My Fair Lady'). So why would a cardinal of the Roman church endorse such symbolic laxity?  Where is Dan Brown when you need him?

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1 comment:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Absolutely. It is a magnificent church though..

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