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 23 January 2012

a roof is replaced

old slates off
old battens exposed - roof light removed
slate battens off
old poplar beams removed and replaced and repaired
rafters replaced in tanalised softwood (spruce)
new tanalised battens
battens completed
'new' slate roof completed
ridge in the Touraine manner with crests


Thursday 19 January 2012

Roger Excoffon - typographer

p.s. oops!  it is Le Mistral n.m. - no 'e'...
as for Marseille (s?)

Imitating his own handwriting, Roger Excoffon created a fully cursive (linking) apparent hand-script, originally for typesetting, now for digital reproduction.  The capitals do not fully link in the computerised version, as was the case with the original, although the lower-case version obviously does. Originally this objective was achieved with various 'ligatures' - fiddly little graphic linkages for particular conjunctions of letters.
'Mistral' is as French as 'Helvetica' is Swiss!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

The Sun King's honeymoon hotel.

The marriage of the young Louis XIV at St Jean de Luz
Following his marriage on 9 June 1660 at St Jean de Luz, in the Pyrenees on the border with Spain, the then 22-year old bridegroom, Louis XIV - Le Roi Soleil, brought his new bride Infanta Marie-Therèse d'Autriche, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, past the château and town of Richelieu, on his slow progress back to Paris. The second duc de Richelieu, Armand Jean de Vignerot du Plessis, grand-nephew of the cardinal duc, would have been his host for this visit.

The picture  of the marriage itself is by Laumosnier and is kept in the Musée de Tessé in Le Mans.

During Louis' first visit to the château in 1650 (ten years earlier) with his mother Anne d'Autriche, the 12-year old dauphin Louis had been fascinated by his conversations with the then 65-year-old King's architect, Jacques Lemercier, who was to die five years later aged 69. This first royal visit was only a few years after the cardinal duc's death in 1642, and that of Louis' own father King Louis XIII in 1643, when the dauphin was only four years old.  His fascination with the château and parc de Richelieu was a spur for the expansion of his own dead father's hunting lodge in Versailles, to create the sumptuous and grandiose vision we know today. Louis XIII 1601-1643 had died quite young and had had his two sons rather late (37 & 39), so the little boy Louis XIV naturally wanted to continue his predecessor's project on a grander scale.  And how!


Tuesday 17 January 2012

Progress at the Grand Colbert/New Tourist Office

Contract  value for the restoration of this 'half'  hôtel particulier from arch to street corner only
no backland or back façade, but to the full satisfaction of Bâtiments de France
Facades restored and 'edited'

New doorway on the side façade

First floor window openings

Side (N) façade with new first floor windows installed

Main façade to the market square restored and 'edited'!
And here are a few 'before shots'

Monday 16 January 2012

some shops close ...others open

Europe's smallest soap manufacturer HQ

The new estate agent well under way
The old seventeenth century shop buildings on the route de Loudun that hug the church site have found two new tenants.  Both have refurbished rather elegant traditional 19th century French retail fronts.  Frenchmen and women, generally not very tall today, were obviously even more petit in those now distant days... Mind you Head, if you need to buy the wonderful hand-made soap.