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.

Friday 12 December 2014

Jean Marot - engraver and architect

Marot is thought to be the design architect of the town's elegant gates.

Jean Marot, (born c. 1619—died Dec. 15, 1679, Paris), French architect and engraver who was one of a large family of Parisian craftsmen and artists.
Although he was a Protestant, Marot was named architect of the king. He was also the architect of various private houses, including the Hôtel de Pussort, Hôtel de Mortemart, and Hôtel de Monceau, but he is chiefly renowned for his two great series of architectural engravings known as “Le Petit Marot” and “Le Grand Marot,” which are essential for the study of French 17th-century architecture. In addition he engraved a large number of ornamental designs for chimneys, ceilings, etc., a practice in which he was followed by his son Daniel Marot, who became a celebrated decorative designer.

Jean Marot - Engraver + Architect - 1619-1679
English: Portrait of the French engraver Jean Marot (1619–1679) 
Unknown date [circa 1679]. A scan from the original book: Mauban, André (1944) - 'Jean Marot, Architecte et Graveur Parisien'. Paris: Les Éditions d'Art et d'Histoire. OCLC 7057275.
N. de P. Montagne Pinxit, J. Gole Sculpsit

Text about the Chateau of Richelieu

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Endowment Fund committee members

Jacques Lemercier - archit.
Members of the Conseil d'Administration of the Fonds de Dotation at December 2014.

  • BONNET                 Laurent
  • COPPING                Howard          en Anglais / in English 
  • DETREZ                  Jacques
  • EYGUN                   Guilmine
  • DAVONNEAU          Jean Luc
  • Maire NOVELLI      Hervé
  • SAVOIE                  Patrice
  • SIMONY                  Marc
  • TERRIEN                Marie-Pierre

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Tuesday 25 November 2014

The Chinon Gate - restoration of the gates themselves

The northern Chinon Gate in the town's encircling walls
The two leaves of the historic Porte de Chinon have been restored to working condition by the company Menuiserie Guérin Frères of Pouzay - a village 10km away from Richelieu.  The gates have been rehung and the ensemble opened in a ceremony led by Richelieu's Mayor Novelli.  The detailed restoration work took the old broken fragments of the original 17th century gate leaves and incorporated new work - of 200 year old Normandy oak - to rebuild them back to more-or-less original condition.
before 1
before 2
2013 painted ochre...

This is the first project that represents works helped by the new Fonds de Dotation.  Half of the 30,000€ cost was met by the state and 50% by the town itself, including finance from the newly established endowment fund.

roads blocked off while the doors are installed
half original, half new - careful piecing in
Installing the doors
Refurbished metal work from the original doors

White van men do their stuff
Erecting the two tonne door leaves
Patched in Normandy oak added to the 17th C  original
Oak and masonry, in 17th century style
Frères Guérin finish off the exterior
Mayor Novelli cuts the ribbon with Mme. Bartelémy of Bâtiments de France

Madamoiselle Bartelémy tries the wicket gate for size - in wellies!

a panorama of the porte de Chinon from the North
How was the porte de Chinon intended to be?
Archit. Henri Proust speculates on behalf of architects Jaques Lemercier and Jean Marot.
Marot is thought to be the design architect of the town's elegant gates.

drawbridge down
drawbridge up

Monday 24 November 2014

The Fonds de Dotation document complete (in French, but hey!…)

The new Endowment Fund for the cité idéale

The Endowment Fund
The little town of Richelieu has recently established an Endowment Fund - Le fonds de Dotation - for the support of restoration projects within the town.  This policy follows the second 3-year agreement with the French state for the support of the stewardship of the huge cultural patrimony that the cité idéale represents at a French national and even European scale.

While the town receives subsidy for redevelopment projects from the French state through organisations like the DRAC and Bâtiments de France, the town council led by Mayor Novelli now seeks to allow others to make their contribution to a series of detailed and costed restoration and redevelopment proposals.  These contributors might range from individuals to private companies, large and small.  There are significant advantages in making such a contribution, such as allowances of 60% against taxation.

pages from the official documents
projects past and future
Restore - enhance value - redevelop
contribution pro-forma
A committee has been set up by the mayor to press this policy forward and this group has prepared a list of prioritised projects for consideration and execution.  The first projects are already underway while companies - from the largest to the smallest - are being approached for their patronage.
  • the gates of the porte de Chinon
  • the pavilion à l'angle in the town walls' north-west corner
  • the Vincent de Paul Library located behind the church, with its famous book collection.


Friday 21 November 2014

SWAT training in Richelieu

The good Cardinal was originally educated in the most famous of Paris' military and riding training schools - the Sandhurst of Henri IV:

So it is not surprising that the Cardinal Duke's ideal town of the 21st century should accommodate a similar institution to that of M.Pluvinel.  SWAT training!

The Positive Stress Center

The old grain silo works overlooking the town's wall from the north west, along the rue de Quebec has been converted into a training school for SWAT teams.  Here one can pass a HIGH STRESS weekend leaning to cope with the worst that the 21st century can throw at one.  

A sort of 'Three Musketeers School'.

All looks bit spooky and modern in this old lost town.

the refurbished grain works

tough-guy transport

the anonymous front door of PSC


19 rue du Québec 37120 - RICHELIEU

Directeur : CARRERO Romuald, Tel :
Conseiller technique : M.Kato, Tel :

Adresse e-mail :


Wednesday 19 November 2014

A new shop opens on the place du Marché

The new shop, called 'Contance's Wardrobe', replaces an antique and brocante shop that had been there for many years.

The premises have been refurbished and a new mezzanine is now accessible from the floor of the shop.  Originally the 17th C building had full-height rooms on the ground floor, as exemplified by the Office de Tourisme across the square in the symmetrical position.

Bâtiments de France seem to have been quite compliant with the new owners, as the façade of the hôtel particular - which has recently been fully restored from the first floor string course upwards to the roof - has not been 'correctly' restored to its original elevation.


Thursday 30 October 2014

The villainous Cardinal (from the BBC!)

Queen Anne of France, Infanta of Spain

King Louis XIII of France and Navarre

Milady de Winter

Mousquetaire M. Aramis

Tuesday 14 October 2014

4th-time Mayor of Schaafheim - Well done our chum Reinhold!

Victory at the polls - 89.3%! A happy Inge with her Reinhold
On Sunday, 14 September 2014 the incumbent mayor of Schaafheim, Reinhold Hehmann, was spectacularly confirmed for the fourth time for the office of Mayor. 89.3% of all electors voted for him. The turnout was 41%. As Reinhold Hehmann was the only realistic candidate, many voters stayed away from the polls. In the Löwen the CDU member of parliament and general secretary of the Hessian Union, Manfred Pentz, the two mayors Carsten Helfmann (Eppertshausen) and Jörg Lautenschlager (Modautal) and administrator Klaus Peter Schell Haas all cheered along with the candidate Reinhold Hehmann, his family and several Schaafheim town guests at these election results. At the subsequent election party at the clubhouse, the singers of the Evangelist Church and well-wishers from Großostheim who came with Mayor Herbert Jacob were in the fore.

the victory chorus
The results were recorded in the Löwensaal. When at last the final result came (at 7.14pm), we saw a very content 'old-and-new' Mayor Reinhold Hehmann. The best result came from Mosbach, where 95.7% voted for him. Councillor Schellhaas commented pointedly: "Even the Bavarians are jealous." Reinhold himself laid the result on his many doorstep visits. 

From the Löwen they went to the great hall of the Singers Union in Old School Lane. Here the Schaafheimer Union congratulated their own successful candidate, Reinhold Hehmann. Chairman Ralph Reinhold Hehmann Pittich thanked him for his dedication, commitment and closeness. It showed that he, as before, had made ​​many home visits in the various districts for all the election campaigns. In this he was accompanied him several other CDU members. It is a exemplary list and a dedicated campaign team for the next municipal election in 2016, as Reinhold Hehmann has continued to have a very good partner for his ideas in the council of the Schaafheimer CDU. 

Reinhold Hehmann thanked the Schaafheim CDU for their strong support. Together they could achieve a lot. A special thanks to their coalition partner, the FDP community - here chairman Otto Dill worked hard for the support of this candidate. Together they have both achieved a lot for Schaafheim since 1977. 

Our member of parliament Patricia Lips came to congratulate the successful candidate. The friends of the CSU came from Großostheim. Mayor Herbert Jacob, and the local councillors Stefan Kraus and Thorsten Rollman congratulated our 'old and-new' Mayor, Reinhold Hehmann.

Schaafheim's swing-o-meter'
Schaafheim is twinned with the Cité Idèale of RICHELIEU


Why not click here to listen to the histories of Germany...
long live the BBC!


Friday 26 September 2014

Boule marquetry in Richelieu

Who says that Richelieu hasn't got any industry any more?  Look at the video and marvel….

Sunday 10 August 2014

The Sainte Chapelle at Champigny-sur-Veude

the classical frontage to the Sainte Chapelle on a mid-summer's evening
The next village north of Richelieu, as the little river Mable runs towards the broad Vienne, is called Champigny-sur-Veude, although the little river has by now changed its name to the river Veude. The King's brother Gaston d'Orléans formerly owned a major castle here, most of which was finally demolished after the cardinal duc had acquired the property from the Bourbons as he established his huge ducal domaine.  The Pope himself intervened to protect a fragment, the as-called Sainte Chapelle. This building is one of the few that were constructed as reflections of the famous mediaeval Sainte Chapelle in the centre of Paris.  While the Champigny chapel, with its famous stained glass windows telling the history of Saint Louis for the family of the Bourbon-Montpensier, is in a late gothic manner, the family constructed this rather strict Roman porch modelled as a triumphal arch.

A fine crash of Gothic and Neo-classical taste.

All evidence of the castle itself, with the exception of the 'commons', has since disappeared.

a remnant of the castle walls

a concert within the chapelle showing the stained glass windows

the vaulting and support columns
some of the stained glass windows


Thursday 7 August 2014

Cape and Rapier 2014 - the procession

17th century citizens

girl musketeers (whatever next!)...

the King's carriage

pony sandwich

Daddy Longlegs and Mummy Longlegs
[Order Phalangida: numerous genera and speciesincluding the common Phalangium opilio.]

a set of hurdy-gurdies