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 30 December 2013

Wuzhen twins with Richelieu

Wuzhen - the water city


Only one year ago, the town of Richelieu signed a twinning agreement with the Chinese city of Wuzhen. The numerous studies that have just taken place for three days with the presence of a Chinese delegation led by Zhu Mingjie, suggest that trade and friendship can be particularly promising and long-term.

The Twin Cities are interested in building co-operative and exemplary relationships. Notably on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary - in 2014 - the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries by General de Gaulle.
The program devised by the municipality of Richelieu for its guests was particularly dense and  appealed to many the participantss. Among them, were representatives of the University of Tours and the Rector of the Sorbonne in Paris. The tourism development projects and possible economic impacts were naturally at the center of exchanges and visits. The museum, the City, the Park, the wine area of ​​Garrelière, the truffles at Marigny-Marmande, but also available was the former Jean-Mermoz school buildings were part of a very popular marathon ... and all very much photographed! Not to mention a Gala evening in the company of Templerie of Flowers and Truffles and a reception at the castle of Rivau.
On the last day, the group, accompanied by Mayor Hervé Novelli, was received in the Senate in Paris by Jean -Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister and an expert on China. François Weil, President of the Academy Française, and Xudong Jin, from the Chinese Embassy, attended the meeting to sign a memorandum of co-operation .

Exchanges before the summer comes

The coming months will be very rich. Chinese media students will come to Richelieu this summer 2014. In May, the town of Wuzhen will present an exhibition on Richelieu and at the same time receive a delegation from Richelieu. In return, the Éspace Richelieu will host an exhibition on the Chinese twin city this summer.
A significant development around multiple co-operation projects could be a tremendous asset to the people of Richelieu.

A few details...

Wuzhen is a small Chinese river town built entirely around canals, located near the city of Tongxiang. Its population is 60,000 inhabitants, of which only 12,000 or so are permanent residents.
Founded in the ninth century by the Tang dynasty, it was completely renovated in 2000 and is classified as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. For ten years, tourists have flocked there.  Several million each year!
Although of very different population levels, Richelieu and Wuzhen have many cultural and historical similarities.
The Chinese delegation included the deputy mayors of both Wuzhen and Tongxiang, as well as those responsible for tourism and economic development of the international tourist area of ​​Wuzhen.


Correspondent for NR - Alain Verna

Thank you to Nouvelle République for announcing the news - we trust they will be happy that we extend their reportage about our sweet little town…

Look on the map on the right-hand column for a Google Earth view of Wuzhen..

Monday 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Two sons of the Abbé Proust belt out 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'
as boy choristers  in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, London 2000
under the meticulous direction of Mr. John Scott,
'Eminence Ginger'.

Marvel at Sir Chris.Wren's cathedral resonance…


which translates from Latin as

Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren,
 who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good.
Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.

Merry Christmas to all the Abbé's readers & chums


p.s. cricket fans - note Mr. Alastair Cook, 2013 Captain of England
 in the choir
Trounce those Aussies, next knock

Friday 20 December 2013

A Belgian entreprise at Faye-la-Vineuse

Vente exceptionelle de chocolats et speculos Belges

Mardi, 24 décembre - 10 à 12h et 16 à 19h 
Lundi, 30 décembre - 16 à 19h

entrée par les grilles à
8 rue de la Corderie Faye la Vineuse


Monday 2 December 2013

The last self portrait of van Dyck

the last selfie of Sir Anthony van Dyck
 Just as the town and castle of Richelieu were being finished in 1641, poor Anthony van Dyck died  in London, over la manche, aged only 42.  Court painter to the to-be-chopped Stuart King, Charles 1; contemporary British monarch to Louis XIII, the loyal and royal husband to the the French king's Louis' sister, Henrietta Maria.
Anthony van Dyck was the opposite number to Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu's court painter, Philippe de Champaigne.  Both painters from the Spanish Netherlands; both painters to  the nobility and image-makers of the National myth.

This portrait is the subject of a public appeal to prevent some Yank(?) adding it to his boring private investment collection.  Six million quid (more?) in contributions please….
déclicer ici / click here

Saturday 30 November 2013

p. g. tips - or les astuces de Bertram W...

The good Abbé HP is reading 'Right Ho Jeeves' to pass the gloomy grisaille of December 2014 in literary jollity.  From this text, he has become fascinated by the recipes of Anatole, Aunt Dahlia's cook; in particular 'Nonnettes de Poulet Agnes Sorrel'.  Read on below...

Bertram W and Jeeves in the two seater
Nonnettes de Poulet Agnès Sorel

Trousser 12 ortolans pour Entrée et les faire raidir au beurre un instant.
Lever les filets de 12 poulets de grains ; les dénerver ; aplatir légèrement ces filets et les réunir deux par deux, en mettant les bords de l'un sur l'autre: Cela, pour obtenir une plus large surface.
Au milieu de chacune de ces sortes d'abaisses de chair de poulet, mettre un ortolan ; l'envelopper dans l'abaisseet entourer celle-ci de quelques tours de fil pour la maintenir en forme de paupiette.
Ranger ces paupiettes dans un plat à sauter à bords baset, 5 minutes avant de servir, les arroser de 125 grammes de beurre très chaud.
Saler légèrement et cuire à four vif.
Après avoir retiré le fil, dresser les Nonnettes, chacune dans un croûton en pain de mie de forme carrée,
légèrement creusé, frit au beurre et farci intérieurement de Purée de Foie Gras.
Napper sobrement de Glace de Volaille légère, montée au beurre;
ajouter une goutte de jus de citron sur chaque Nonnette.

Truss up twelve buntings for the dish and stiffen them in butter for a while.
Fillet the twelve chickens, and remove the sinews, slightly flatten the filets and bring them together two-by-two, with the edges of one another: This in order to create the largest surface area.
In the middle of each of these reduced pieces of rolled-up chicken meat, put one of the buntings; wrap it in the reduced meat and surround it with a few turns of thread to keep it in shape of a eye.
Place these eye-shaped meatballs in a sauté pan to with high edges and sauté; 5 minutes before serving, sprinkle them with 125 grams of hot butter. Sprinkle with salt
Now bake in oven on high.
After removing the wire, straightening out the Nonnettes, and place each in a square slightly-dished crust base of soft bread crumbs, to be lightly pan-fried and stuffed in the interior with purée of foie gras.
Coat soberly with 'Glace de Volaille' and with butter;
Add a drop of lemon juice on each Nonnette.

the tomb of la belle Agnes Sorrel in Loches
"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique... there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French."
the first para of
P G Wodehouse - 'The Luck of the Bodkins'


Tuesday 26 November 2013

23.30h one winter's night….

 the spooky midnight church: 'Who yer gonna call? - boom boom-boom!"

Wednesday 16 October 2013

The Heine family and its Richelieu generations

The German romantic poet Heinrich Heine was the cousin of the banker Michel Heine
  • Isaac HEINE est né vers 1763 à Hanovre (D). Il est banquier et négociant à Bordeaux. Il épouse Merian MICHEL dite Jeanne. Isaac décède le 16.10.1828 à Bordeaux.
    • Son 1 fils: Michel HEINE est né le 19.04.1819 à Bordeaux (33). A La Nouvelle-Orléans (USA), il épouse Marie Amélie MILTENBERG, née le 25.05.1832[1] à La Nouvelle-Orléans (USA). Après un long séjour aux Etats-Unis, Michel revient en France et fonde les Maisons Ouvrières. Il est alors domicilié au 21 Avenue Hoche Paris 8ème. Michel est banquier pour A. et M. Heine et Régent de la Banque de France XIIIème Siège du 30.01.1890 à sa mort. Michel décède le 10.11.1904 à Paris 8ème, et Marie Amélie le 12.05.1915 à Richelieu (37). Ils y sont inhumés dans le caveau familial.
    • Sa 1 fille: Marie Alice HEINE est née le 10.02.1858 à La Nouvelle-Orléans (USA). Les 25 et 27.02.1875, à Paris 8ème, elle épouse Marie Odet Richard Armand CHAPELLE de JUMILHAC, 7ième Duc de RICHELIEU, né le 15.11.1847 à Paris 1er ancien, fils d'Armand Henri Marie Marcel CHAPELLE de JUMILHAC, 6ième Duc de RICHELIEU. Armand décède lors d'un voyage le 28.06.1880 à Athènes (GR). Il est inhumé dans le caveau des RICHELIEU à la Sorbonne à Paris. En secondes noces, Alice épouse le 30.10.1889 à Paris 8ème, ALBERT Ier, Prince Souverain de Monaco, né le 13.11.1848 à Monaco. ALBERT Ier décède le 26.06.1822 et Alice le 22.12.1925 à Paris 8ème. Alice est inhumée au cimetière du Père-Lachaise, à Paris.
    • Son 3 fils: Isaac Georges HEINE est né le 26.10.1861 à Paris 8ème. Il est banquier pour la Maison Heine et Cie., 22 rue Bergère Paris 9ème, maison qui succède à la Banque Fould, et Régent de la Banque de France VIIème Siège du 29.01.1914 à son décès. Georges décède le 03.06.1928 au Château de Richelieu, et les obsèques ont lieu le 08.06.1928, à 10h, en l'Eglise de Richelieu (37) et il est inhumé dans le caveau familial à Richelieu (37).
      • Son 1 petit fils: Robert HEINE est né le 20.03.1919 à Paris. Sa mère est, selon le journal "Aux écoutes" du 25.08.1928, "une grande dame de l'aristocratie parisienne".

Wednesday 2 October 2013

A tour of the Sorbonne and HIS tomb...

Richelieu - the radio play on Lux Radio Theatre, Hollywood, 1939



Tuesday 24 September 2013

Art 'ancient and modern' at the château de Oiron - 34 km from Richelieu

le château de Oiron
Painted Gallery 1
To the west of Richelieu, past Loudun (see the map of locations on the right hand side), is to be found the château of Oiron.  These pictures show the long gallery that is located on the eastern wing of the château on the first floor.  It has original painted decorations on the walls depicting classical legends, and a florid floor of glazed coloured tiles. It is really very spectacular.  On a summer afternoon, the sun streams in and lights up the internal window shutters.  This sort of long gallery was a common feature of grand noble houses of the 16th and 17th centuries - there was one in the now disappeared château de Richelieu.

Painted Gallery 2
Painted Gallery 3

the profiles of the citizens of  Oiron & their place settings
As the castle now does not have any inhabitants, it has been used for a large display of modern art.  One of the installations, by Raoul Marek,  is a set of Sèvres porcelain that show the facial profiles of the inhabitants of the town when this particular installation was constructed.  These plates are mounted on the wall of one of the rooms ready to be used for an annual dinner that re-assembles the townsfolk in a repeating art event.
When's the annual supper, then?
The 30th of June each year.

"Look! It's me!"

Friday 13 September 2013

Meanwhile, smaller houses are being refurbished...

an early 19th century façade renovated
While big scale renovations are carried forward - la Halle or carriage-door painting by Terres et Coleurs for example - more modest projects transform previously sad and neglected façades.  While Richelieu still has many 17th century façades, some have been replaced by 18th and 19th century 'improvements'.  These elevations often have great charm too, and they complement the rather more formal and sober elevations of the original houses.  This particular house has very precise masonry detailing and has blossomed with the restoration efforts a proud owner and her locally-based stone masons.

Crisp newly-restored masonry after years of crumbling in the frost...

Next door, an older 17th century façade restored too.
A pretty colour palette!

"Painting the town red"

16 Grande Rue gets the treatment
On the Saturday, 7 September 2013, a large number of volunteers descended on the cité ideale of Richelieu to 'bring the good news' of ochre-based paints to the scruffy old buildings and their grand doorways.  The 'Association' of Terres et Couleurs was formed in 1995 by the manufacturers of ochre-based architectural paints, who seek to re-introduce these ancient products that have, until recently, been eclipsed by 'modern' paint technology.  While these 'modern' paints may have many merits for new construction, the qualities of these older earths-based paints have come to be overlooked.  In the same way, the merits of several lime-based building products had been smothered in the race to newer, cheaper, high-technology methods of building.  

So a group of architects, historians, building experts, and painters and manufacturers have come together to encourage the revival and use of these products.  In the UK, SPAB, the society formed by William Morris a hundred and fifty years ago, encourages the revival of 'ancient' construction practice, particularly that of lime-based mortars, in the very country where 'Portland' cement was invented.  Damp, non-porosity, mould, garish 'modern' chemical colours have all come to be seen as the problems of these newer construction methods.  This is of importance in protected historic towns such as Richelieu, whose buildings were all constructed 400 years ago.

The association's volunteers arrive in a new location (Richelieu is the 20th town chosen) for a day-long team effort to clean-off and re-paint doors and other chosen timber architectural features.  In this way the viability of the paints is demonstrated, while the old fabric gets a good 'wash and brush up'.  The paint itself and the volunteers' labour are supplied for nothing, while the building owners must prepare the base woodwork for the process. According to their condition, many doors  in Richelieu were sand-blasted clean of the former grime and coatings before the day started.

All the doors on the Grande Rue (save one, for witness of the former condition!) were painted in the same 'bull's blood' colour, while the town's ancient gates were coated in a 'yellow ochre' colour.

The project had the support of the Townhall - their own doors were repainted too! - and commanded the intellectual and historic support of Bâtiments de France.  That 'bull's blood' - a high ferrous oxide pigment colour - was indeed  an appropriate tint is shown by its widespead use at the Château de Thouars (also by Jacques Lemercier), and by some existing buildings in the domainal park of the cardinal-duc.

the brochure title page of terres et coleurs

16 Grande Rue after

Tuesday 10 September 2013

An evening sky over la halle

a dramatic cloudscape - over the restored Halle building
August turns to September 2013
vive la symmétrie!

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Press dossier on the 2013 Richelieu music festival

Bonjour Monsieur l'Abbé Henri Proust,

J’ai découvert votre site sur la ville de Richelieu, ce qui m’intriguait. Et j’ai aperçu que vous aviez communiqué sur le Festival de Richelieu et 2011 et 2012. Je me permets donc de vous transmettre le communiqué et le dossier de presse du Festival de musique de Richelieu de 2013, car je pense sincèrement que cela pourrait vous intéresser, et vos lecteurs aussi.

Pour résumer :

Le Festival de Musique de Richelieu aura lieu du 26 juillet au 11 août à Richelieu en Indre et Loire !

Une pause musicale au sud de la Touraine, dans un cadre de verdure et architectural exceptionnel, à 1h30 de Paris. Au programme de cette 7ème édition, le festival invite sur scène des talents internationaux de la musique romantique et baroque (François-René Duchâble et Jordi Savall), mais aussi de jeunes talents (Emmanuelle Swierz, Jean Dubé), dans une ambiance toujours conviviale et intime, dont les directeurs artistiques, le pianiste Nicolas Boyer et Gala Ringger, ont le secret. Le festival rend cette année hommage à de grands compositeurs à l’occasion d’un triple anniversaire : l’année « Théodore Gouvy » et le bicentenaire de la naissance de Verdi et de Wagner, deux monstres sacrés de l’opéra...

N’hésitez pas à me contacter si vous souhaitez quelques visuels des artistes pour compléter une information sur le festival de musique Richelieu. 

Je reste à votre disposition si vous avez besoin d’informations complémentaires, ou si vous voulez organiser une interview avec les organisateurs des festivals et/ou les artistes. 

En vous remerciant pour votre attention, et en espérant que ces informations vous soient utiles, je vous souhaite bonne réception de ces documents.

Bien à vous,

Louis-Davis Brozzetti

Agence PopSpirit
Relations presse & Agence artistique
Bureaux/showroom : 13 rue Greneta 75003 Paris (France)
Tel. : +33 (0)1 42 93 44 56
Mob. : +33 (0)6 58 62 17 55
Site web :

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Barock music concert in the parc

La municipalité de Richelieu propose:

dans le Dôme du parc de Richelieu
- le 13 juillet 2013 à 16h -
 Un concert de musique baroque

*** l ’ e n s e m b l e  A l c e s t e ***

Suivi d’un goûter 17e, en présence d’un conteur de fables et de lettres persanes


Sunday 30 June 2013

Midsummer light, low from the north; the Mable overflows it's banks; a pretty 17th century walled town....

 The floods of 20 June 2013 had one unexpected consequence; the town's moat - usually running nearly dry - was completely submerged, and we all could see a visual version of the town's walls that had not been viewed since the last flood; in 1952, they say.

While the moat and walls, originally paid for by the King Louis XIII at the foundation of the town, are impressive, the Abbé Henri P. now feels it is a shame that the original appearance of of the 'Walled and MOATED city' is seen so very rarely in the originally conceived condition. The most unencumbered stretch of the town's girdling wall is the part facing north-west, including the so-called Porte de Chinon.  This situation is because the space inside the wall at this point was for most of its life since the 1640s, not minor houses as elsewhere, but a large nunnery.  The service alley that runs round the three other sides of the town does not exist in this stretch, and so no houses came to be built against the wall on the inside face.  Today it is the site of the town's multi-purpose hall. As a result the exterior moat has not been encroached with 'structures' and 'gardens' as elsewhere.

20th June - Midsummer's day - meant that the sunbeams of evening (maybe at 21 00h) washed the old north wall and towers with yellow light and long shadows.  Shadows of the fantastical plane trees that shelter the little town from the prevailing wind.

The last coincidence for a photographer - the calm and pretty reflections on the surface of the water  
mask the turbidity of the muddy water of the flood.

many more photos below

Thursday 27 June 2013

The Grand Prix de Tours

The classic car rally called the Grand Prix de Tours took place over the weekend of 14-15-16 June 2013. The three-day event started with a meet-up in Tours, followed the next morning by a Rallaye 'avec roadbook' that took the cars on a long circuit of Touraine.  The ballade, which stopped for lunch in the parc domainal of Richelieu, ended with a formal dinner at the château of Villandry for all the participants.

The domainal park of Richelieu is ideally suited as a destination for such vintage car rallies, and it was picturesque to see not only the wonderful old cars but the re-animation of the lonely park as it received 500 people to a fully catered luncheon on the grass.  The isolation of the town at the junction of Touraine and Poitou means that the roads about are largely empty, and 'motoring' can still have the qualities that made for the pleasures of the 1950s - pleasures of the decades that manufactured many of these lovely old cars.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Richelieu is flooded by the River Mable

rue Traversière - East
On the 19 June 2013 there was a torrential storm over the cité idéale.  It only lasted a couple of hours but, on the 20th - 24 hours later, all that rain from the wide valley up-steam of the  town collected itself and was concentrated into the narrow river Mable - normally a stream - that flows past the town and feeds the moat of the walled city.  Straight through the majestic waterworks of the old château, it tried to flow away into the river Vienne (15km away), and thence into the 'mighty' Loire (30km).  Flooding was limited to the eastern side of the town, close to the rivers natural bed, but cellars throughout the town were filled and needed to be pumped out later by the Sapeurs Pompiers.  Water depths in places were a metre deep.

The last time that the town was flooded by the river Mable was in 1952, when the innundation reached the steps of the church (on the western side of the town).

The town's dwellers helped each other clear up and improvised getting the water out with water-vacuum-cleaners and any squeegee to hand to help scrape up the mud.

Everyone concerned checked the terms of their (mandatory) domestic insurance policy.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

the restored Halle is opened - 24 May 2013

from Nouvelle République - with many thanks

Monday 27 May 2013

Henri Dutilleux 1916 - 2013

“Everything that Dutilleux has written in the last decades belongs to the category of masterpiece”. These were the words of conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen regarding the French composer, Henri Dutilleux, who sadly died last week ( + 22 May 2013) at the age of 97. One of the great twentieth-century composers, he consistently gave us music full of wonderful sounds and ravishing orchestral effects. Nowhere is this more evident than in perhaps his best-known pieces, namely the concertos for cello (Tout un monde lointain) and violin (L’Arbre des songes). If you’re looking for an introduction to his music, then I’d suggest a 2-disc EMI set, which includes both of these concertos, featuring none other than Mstislav Rostropovich and Renaud Capuçon as the soloists.

Furthermore, there’s a truly outstanding disc from earlier this year, conducted by Salonen with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, containing one of my favourite Dutilleux pieces, Correspondances, for soprano and orchestra. This is most certainly worth a listen: not only is soprano Barbara Hannigan on typically amazing form, but I can think of no other orchestral piece that contains a duet (albeit a very brief one) for accordion and tuba!"

Resident of Candes-Saint-Martin
- 36.6 kilometres from Richelieu -
(and the Ile Saint Louis, Paris)

"I'm afraid M. Dutilleux doesn't live here any more..."

Monday 13 May 2013

The town's Mayors since the guillotine fell

La ville de Richelieu et ses Maires
The town of Richelieu and its Mayors


  • 1791 - PATTEAU François       10 years          The Revolution
  • 1801 - De La MOTTE                11 years
  • 1812 - JAHAN Armand               3 years          Napoléon Bonaparte
  • 1815 - MARTIN Charles            11 years          
  • 1826 - TORTERUE Louis           4 years
  • 1830 - FROGER René                 4 years
  • 1834 - De La MOTTE                 1 year
  • 1835 - RAGGONEAU               11 years
  • 1846 - DELASSUS François      21 years!         Napoléon III
  • 1867 - HULIN                              8 years           Franco-Prussian War
  • 1875 - FROGER Léonide             7 years
  • 1882 - LUNET Jules                     3 years    
  • 1885 - JARRY Henry                   4 years           rue Jarry? and the railway station?
  • 1889 - ORILLARD Paul              9 years
  • 1898 - BRIDEL Eugène             21 years           WW1
  • 1919 - PERROT Charles               6 years
  • 1925 - PICHEREAU Oscar         12 years
  • 1937 - MOULIN Fernand             9 years           WW2 &; the Occupation
  • 1946 - SELVESTRE Dr.Louis     12 years          Liberation
  • 1958 - FORTIER Dr.Marcel         31 years!
  • 1989 - COQUERIE Gabriel           6 years
  • 1995 - DEREUX Robert                6 years
  • 2001 - GRAVEL Pierre                  7 years            La place du Marché
  • 2008 - NOVELLI Hervé               5 years +....    La Halle de Richelieu

Maire Fortier, 1958 - 1989
Maire Coquerie, 1989-1995
Maire Dereux, 1995 - 2001
Maire Gravel, 2001 - 2008
Maire Novelli, 2008 - ...?

The re-opening of the Halle...

Restored for the first time since the 1640s, 371 years after the death of the original client, the 
cardinal duc Armand-Jean,
the town's market halle nears re-completion.
Modern regulations for food handling require a glass screen behind the restored railings,
but otherwise the structure is now historically impeccable - no expense has been spared.
A quality project - Bravo Hervé and his artisans!
Next restoration in 2384.

the official invitation to the opening
the gate to the place du Marché