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 28 March 2012

Two aerial photos of the cité idéale from the west

Click on the photos for a MUCH bigger version.

thanks to photographer 
Denis Caraire
and Panoramio & Google Earth

...and here's an archive of photos of the town's connection with St. Vincent de Paul


Sunday 25 March 2012

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Restoration of la halle de Richelieu - 1

M. le Maire Novelli promised that the comprehensive restoration of the town's 1640 covered market building - la halle - would start in March 2012 - and so it has.  

While the old structure must have been much adapted in the 1830s when the four propping corner pavilions were enlarged in a 'Balzac-ian' neo-classical style, the primary sweet chestnut structure is completely original. It has been in use twice a week on Monday and Fridays (with the King Louis XIII's authority) since 1640.

This is the first major restoration for a very ... very ...  long time.

The Abbé will try to keep some sort of photo record, but we start by some dramatic pictures - from the Tourist Office - of the removal of the concrete utility floor, itself far from ancient!

hacking up the old concrete floor

a brutal business - hope the foundations are stable!

clichés emprunté d'Agnes B.

halle : nom féminin (etym. francique *hala, endroit couvert)
  • Emplacement couvert où se tient un marché : La halle d'Arpajon date du XVIIe s.
  • Grande salle, plus ou moins largement ouverte sur l'extérieur; hangar servant au stockage ou au commerce d'une marchandise.
  • Place publique, ordinairement couverte, où se tiennent les marchés ou les foires; Magasin public où les personnes qui font un même commerce enferment leurs marchandises. Les Halles centrales. Halle aux blés. La halle aux vins. Halle aux draps, aux cuirs, etc. Aller à la halle. Le carreau des Halles à Paris. Les forts de la Halle, Les porteurs.Facteur aux Halles. Commissionnaire aux Halles. Les dames de la Halle, Les marchandes. Langage des halles,Langage grossier, tel que celui qu'on parle communément dans les marchés de Paris.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Complete the Richelieu by-pass S.V.P

An association has been created to press for the completion of the by-pass of the cardinal duc's cité idéale. Organised by Jean-Louis Laurence and the signatories of the manifesto shown, we would strongly recommend making a comment on the link below and mobilise the troops for this obvious and necessary project.  Why build 2/3rds of the by-pass, and then bottle out with the last third? Meanwhile the endless agricultural euro-HGVs thunder on, rattling the town's humble foundations, a few metres away!

Circulaire Deviation

Richelieu, January 25 2012

Madame, Sir,

This letter is to inform you of the current situation concerning the town's by-pass. The completion of the Diversion Project, which had been the subject of a petition to the town's General Council in October 2009 (a petition that the vast majority of residents affected had happily signed), seems now to have been buried again. In 2009, the project's realization was envisaged to be in the immediate future.

We thought that to give more weight to our proposed actions, it would be useful to create an Association whose purpose would be
  •  safeguard the interests of the population of the communes of Richelieu (as well as  the surrounding areas)
  • the harmonious management of the local environment
  • sustain the balance of regional and urban planning
  • improve the general quality of life of the town's inhabitants

The completion of the by-pass should should have occurred well within the expected time-frame.

Once created, this Association - with the full support of its members - will obtain a re-opening of the DUP by the town's Conseil Général

To support this demand, we plan to organize one or more events that will help to make things actually happen, as a simple request for re-opening of the DUP will probably not be sufficient.

To this end we need to know if you are willing to add your support in these approaches, as it is clear that the more our number the more our chances of success. 

To discuss  this project with you, we propose a meeting on February 18 2012 at 5pm, in the Hall NICOLAS LEMERCIER.

Hoping that many of you will support us, 
we remain,
yours sincerely
A Amirault, J Angier, J Boureau, F Jahan, J P Lambert, M C Milan

Wednesday 7 March 2012

...follow the PANTHER's adventures...

click below

Friday 2 March 2012

Saint Anne and re-named streets

The presentation of the Virgin at the Temple by Sainte Anne
- Philippe de Champaigne -
Sainte Anne

Some of the streets intermuros of the Cité Idéale of the cardinal duc have been re-named,

Jules Chevalier in 1857

  • place du Marché = Place du Cardinal The cardinal's square included a church and the halle.
  • place des Religieuses = Place Royale. This square was the one that would be entered first by the King on his arrival from the town from Chinon, another royal town, that of the Platagenets.
  • rue Henri Proust = rue Sainte Anne    Henri Proust was the parson of Richelieu at the end of the 19th Century.  Apparently, the youngest son of a wealthy family; buried in  the town's graveyard in an imposing vault (a poor priest!).  'St. Anne' (the mother of the virgin Mary) was no doubt selected originally as being the name of the Queen of Louis XIII, so featured in Les Trois Mousquetaires, and a name appropriate for a street to be filled with nuns and nunneries. Note that the King had financed for the construction of the street itself.
  • rue Bourbon = 
  • rue de la Galère = named after the tavern la Galère - the galley - The existing original building is the only 7-bay structure in Richelieu
  • rue des Gaultiers = A gaultier is an old term for a mercenary soldier such as were common in the 17th century, in particular during the 30-years war; think of the film  Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick.
  • Place Louis XIII = Marché aux Veaux = Veal Market
  • rue Jarry named no doubt after Henri Jarry, Mayor of Richeleieu in 1885, probably at the period of the construction of the Avenue de la Gare.
  • rue du Collège
  • avenue de Québec = l'avenue du Colonel Goulier
  • rue de l'Académie  Location of the original Académie de Richelieu, a 'public school' for the sons of the local gentry; founded by the cardinal.
  • rue Traversière  = Cross Street
  • rue Paul Viau-Laurence = who HE? (Google does not know him!)
  • rue de l'Hôtel de Ville = Town Hall Street
  • rue de Loudun = Loudun Street
  • rue des Écluses  = Street of the Sluices (of the town's moat)
  • rue du Chantier  = Building site street, filled with houses of the itinerant builders of castle and town.
  • rue Jules Chevalier = formerly rue de Cygne - Swan Street
  • rue des Halles  = Street of the market halls - there were several even until the 20th century.
  • place Nicholas Lemercier = Site architect for the town and the construction of the church; brother of premier architecte du Roy, Jacques Lemercier.