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.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Big trees fall in the park

a new clearing in the parc

the foresters tidy up the huge fallen trees

how old, dendochronologists?

the 'electro mill' race, a bit encumbered...

a branch still in the roof of the Bollée ram building

another fallen tree on the grand canal

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The new gardens at the Château de Chambord

the view at the garden door
The gardens in front of this famous Loire château have been reconstructed. They were opened to the public only on 20 March 2017.  They counter-balance the overbearing scale of the old building as can be seen in these pictures, and help us imagine the leisure of the occupants in their day. The gardens are truely VAST in scale. So are the numbers of trees and plants.

Worth a visit.
Imagine how impressive were the similar gardens of the now-absent château de Richelieu

the Château de Chambord

from the new garden


Friday, 7 July 2017

Fête de Musique de Richelieu

Here is the programme of this, the eleventh, Festival

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mayor Novelli seeks to lead his troops to the election!

The current mayor of Richelieu encourages his party faithful 
in the Auditoire of the 
cardinal duc's
cité idéale.

p.s. nice box balls, Milady P!


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Pasta problems......


....that is the question.

France decides....


Some 'jetons' from the 1640s - showing the cardinal duc

These coins from the 17th century, minted during the life of the cardinal duc, are called 'jetons';
a word that means a non-monetary token, such as one might use in a shopping cart today

They have marine scenes on the reverse face celebrating the 'great helmsman' Richelieu, 
who was in any event Head of the royal navy of his day.
They incorporate the coat of arms of the dukes of Richelieu, and the symbol of the Sainte Ésprit, a chivalric order of the ancient régime.

The last jeton (of 1974!) celebrates the foundation in 1640 of 
the Royal Printing Works 
by the cardinal duc and Louis XIII.

Thanks to Wolfgang Roth 
of the ideal city's twin town Schaafheim
in Germany


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wine festival in Richelieu

A short movie of the recent 2017 wine festival held on
23 April 2017
(St.George's Day: Shakespeare's birthday in 1564)
under the roof of the market hall.


The Dome by night in the parc

Thanks Gala!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A new wine bar for Pascale and François Plouzeau

14 place du Marché - Cave à vins Plouzeau
 The local wine growers,Pascale and  François Plouzeau have opened a shop in the place du Marché to offer their bio-dynamic wines. The boutique replaces the former estate agent Archard in a rather pretty shop adjacent to the tourist office.

the facade to the square

try a wine here at the zinc bar!


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Brasserie 'Le Richelieu' and the PMU

across the square
This brasserie is at present the main bar and café that looks onto the Market Square. It occupies one of the four nineteenth century pavilions that form the corners of the earlier 17th century market hall. Such pavilions were part of the original design but they were replaced and enlarged in the first decades of the 1800s. The bar  looks to the west and so gets the afternoon sun and attracts a lounging clientele on its external tables.  Inside the bar has a terminal of the PMU betting system and is (I think?) the only bookie in the town intra-muros.

The new proprietors, who took charge quite recently, have referbished the interior and are putting a bit of beef into getting the establishment established, while other immediately local commercial competition such as it is seems to be in a low state.

A facebok page tells of the events organised here, which include bar-room karaoke every so often.

the refurbished interior

the new chairs

lighting and decor

front to the square on a sunny afternoon


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Clearing the carp pond

The parc of the cardinal duc de Richelieu was reborn in the nineteenth century when the Heine family reassembled the by-then fragmented post-revolutionary portions of the ancient parc 'probably' to the designs of the well-known Parisian landscape architects, the Buhler Brothers. This firm had assumed a role of national importance as, with the invention of the railway system, they could now ply their aristocratic trade over the whole of geographic France. The parc and estate were reconstituted as part of the dowry gift to the then duke of Richelieu, who had taken the hand of the beautiful and rich banker's daughter, Alice Heine.

(Another landed estate re-designed by the Buhlers is located at Azay le Ferron, not too far away from Richelieu.) 

In the location of the historic castle's basse cour and avant cour - the outer and inner arrival courtyards - they built a large but shallow carp pond to act as a reflecting pool on the layout's main axis.

It is surrounded by the large allées of plane trees, now grown to full height.  These huge trees dump their autumn leaves into the pond each year, and every decade or so the parc's stewards have to clear all the rotting sludge out. Quite a task! The pond is finally restocked with fish.

Below a few pictures of the task half completed, with pressure hoses cleaning up the central fountain.

Where can we find authenication of the designers of the Parc de Richelieu?

"Eugène (1822-1907) and Denis Bühler (1811-1890), were born in Clamart into a Protestant family. At their father’s death, Denis was obliged to take over the family business and became a nursery gardener. Eugène studies garden landscapes at the Versailles horticultural school until they both settle in Paris in order to design parks and gardens.

1842 Their first project at Kernevez in Britany, was followed by many others in the area such as the parks of the châteaux of Combourg, Bonnefontaine, Briantais, then Oberthür, Bois-Cornillé… They restructure the Gardens of la Tête d’Or in Lyon in 1857, of the Domaine de la Grenade à Saint Selve in 1859, of the Château of Courson, Essonne in1860, of Thabor in Rennes in 1868 and the gardens of Prébendes d’Oé in Tours in 1872, followed by the college St François de Sales in Evreux in 1883. 

During the end of the XIXth century, the Bühlers start their projects in the south of France and specifically in the Hérault region in Languedoc.

They design the parks of : the du Domaine of Verchant, the Château of Raissac, Libouriac and the ''Plateau des Poètes'' in Béziers around 1880. The gardens of the Château de Brochon, Côte d’Or, in 1885, is followed by la Sallière in 1886 and the ''Parc Bordelais'' in Bordeaux… The Bühler brothers make a particular statement by planting rare and exotic species in their landscaped gardens. 

Their conception of a garden:
The alleys or paths of their gardens were designed in harmonious curves and lines, essential to its general beauty. They studied the natural irregularities of the ground which remained the frame of their garden landscape. Trees, flowers, bushes then become the important elements of their style. Rare species are planted on the lawns to be seen by all. Trees are planted according to their shapes and colours to maximise perspectives. Bushes and beds of flowers, well chosen and local to the area, are planted near the house. The garden seems natural, but the influence of designers is visible. Shrubs are designed in elliptic shapes. Water is an essential element of the garden’s harmonious design with waterfalls, ponds, rivers and fountains… all appearing in their most natural way."