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 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.