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.

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!

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