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.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Cité Richelieu Coworking

the coworking space will (hopefully!) 
open its doors in November 2018

At the eastern end of place Louis XIII a vast old building is being adapted as a 'state-of-the-art' coworking space where new business 'start-ups' and other new companies and organisations can rent anything from a desk for an individual to a larger full serviced office for a growing company, all supplied with full internet connection and digital conference suites. These facilities will shortly be linked to a fast fibre-optic connection ensuring the most up to date IT speeds.

The location in the Cité Idéale of Richelieu provides an innovative blend of a picturesque and historic rural location with every contemporary facility for the new digital companies of today and tomorrow.

20 place Louis XIII
37120 Richelieu


SARL Gamma-TiAl, the new Richelaise hand in the service of Airbus

A new factory replaces the former Art et Meubles de France works on the Richelieu-Champigny business park.

The SARL Gamma-TiAl foundry is now casting titanium based parts for the aeronautics industry on the industrial site just outside Richelieu. They are a sub-contractor of Safran, who essentially equip the engines of Airbus Industrie airliners. The updated factory installations and the wonder-alloy titanium aluminide have swept away any legacy of the former furniture-making trades. Furniture has been replaced by TiAl cooling ducts, designed and manufactured to be placed around aircraft engines. They are the result of the closely guarded technical mysteries of the SARL Gamma-TiAl company, a cutting-edge industry with their manufacturing secrets jealously guarded, particularly since their relocation to Richelieu in 2013. Fierce commercial competition obliges that each and every visit to the factory is closely controlled and all photography is limited, particularly around of the furnaces where the actual melting of the titanium bars takes place. The molten titanium alloy is cast at 1500° C. Out comes a single piece, polished if necessary, ensuring zero production defects.The installations are an absolutely unique example of a specialist metal foundry that uses a version of the 'lost wax' process. 

In the past year, the order book has been overflowing. The cause is the new the 'Leap' engines, Safran's latest range of powerplants, on which SARL Gamma-TiAl works for both version A (for Airbus) and B (for Boeing).

Safran equips all the single-aisle aeroplane fleets of the two world airline giants, 
"ensuring fuel savings, reduced nuisance and a more modest carbon footprint," according to the technicians.
"This means that when you board an A 320 type airliner, there are titanium parts around the engine manufactured here in Richelieu," says Arnaud Henrion, manager of SARL Gamma-TiAl.
There have been many new workers hired in 2018 - a huge expansion and success that grows as air traffic requirements expand.

Such was the rate of business growth that the entrepreneur has had to consider partial or complete re-location. While the new decisions concerning this particular site located in a small town in Touraine had hesitated during the winter period, the decision was finally made to amalgamate locations and rely entirely on the new Richelieu site.

Hopeful ambitions have given birth to this new 'small' business sector which nevertheless represents nearly 35% of the innovative specialist market. Nearly twenty-five new jobs are expected by the end of the year 2018. They will be added to the forty-three technicians already in post, making a staff of 68 in all.

The next objective will be to regain a position lost in the automotive market, which had to be abandoned temporarily in late 2015 following a fire that ravaged the former plant in Toulouse, and to "expand the field of possibilities".

"The product is very light in weight, it does not rust at all ... many sectors still do not exploit it," says Arnaud Henrion.
"The only family-owned foundry with independent capital" is therefore conquering the world from the Champigny-Richelieu business park.

Three hundred castings are released each month from the SARL Gamma-TiAl factory. And the pace may accelerate. Airbus anticipates the need for 28,000 new aircraft for short and medium haul fights in the next twenty years.


An exciting foward-looking subject for the cardinal duc"s ancient cité idéale!

- taken from a facebook post - Comité des Fêtes de Richelieu 

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Three discussions on the 17th century political context of Armand-Jean du Plessis, cardinal duc de Richelieu

Comprendre le temps de Richelieu 

À Richelieu, on s’intéresse beaucoup et continûment à Richelieu, le cardinal. Hommage au fondateur. Le risque est de répéter toujours la même chose, voire toujours le même catéchisme : considérations psychologiques sur le personnage, poncifs pour qualifier sa politique, comme si nous étions de plain- pied avec ce passé, comme si nous pouvions le comprendre directement à partir de nos catégories modernes. Or Richelieu agissait dans un cadre socio-économique, un cadre juridique, un cadre spirituel, etc. très différents des nôtres et qu’il faut regarder dans leur cohérence si l’on veut en prendre la mesure. L’initiative politique des hommes de pouvoir, y compris celle de Richelieu, était enserrée dans un filet de contraintes dans lequel se concevait alors et se conduisait la politique de l’Etat. C’est pourquoi nous avons pensé utile de regarder le temps de Richelieu depuis de tels points d’observation. Nous proposons trois rencontres pour y réfléchir : il ne s’agira pas de conférences mais plutôt d’échanges à partir d’un exposé et de documents de l’époque. La première de ces rencontres sera consacrée aux cadres de l’action (d’un côté les contraintes de l’autre les pratiques du cardinal, son « agir ») ; la deuxième à l’écrit comme ressource et comme moyen d’action (d’un côté l’essor d’une culture politique de l’écrit, de l’autre les écrits fabriqués par et surtout autour du cardinal). La troisième rencontre reviendrait sur les questions soulevées par les participants et sur la question des clivages politiques, des oppositions, des troubles au temps de Richelieu. 

Nos rencontres Comprendre le temps de Richelieu auront lieu les 6, 20, 27 octobre 2018 de 17 à 20 heures. Elles pourront être suivies d’un dîner pour ceux qui le souhaiteront.

Understanding Richelieu's time

In the town of Richelieu, there is naturally a great deal of interest in the duke of Richelieu himself, the cardinal. A tribute to the founder of the Cité Idéale. The risk is always to repeat the same thing, or even always the same set of beliefs: psychological considerations on the character, clichés to describe his politics, as if we are now at the same level with this past, as if we could understand it directly from our modern categories. Richelieu worked in a particular socio-economic setting, a legal framework, a spiritual framework etc. very different from our own today, and we must look into their coherence if we want to understand their various importances. The political initiatives of the 'Men of Power', including that of cardinal duc de Richelieu himself, were contained in a network of constraints in which the policy of the State was then conceived and carried out. This is why we thought it useful to look at Richelieu's time from fresh and different points of  observation. 

We propose three meetings to consider these subjects: they will not be conferences but rather exchanges in the form of presentation and documents of the time. The first of these meetings will be devoted to the framework of action (from the point of view of  the constraints of the cardinal's diverse practices, his "manner of action"); the second in the written word as a resource, and a means of action (on the one hand, the rise of a political culture of writing, on the other the actual writings produced by and especially around the cardinal). The third meeting will return to the questions raised by participants and focus on the question of the political divisions, oppositions and troubles in Richelieu's own time.

Our 'Understanding Richelieu's Time' meetings will take place on October 6, 20, 27, 2018 from 5 pm to 8 pm. They may be followed by a dinner for those who wish.

Bernard Gaborit (
Christian Jouhaud (


Tuesday 21 August 2018

The new gazette of Richelieu and its surroundings

The front page of edition number one

logo, headers and addresse

Friday 3 August 2018

Cinéma Chinois à Richelieu

Fanning the popularity of the festival of Chinese films

Cape et Épée 2018

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Thursday 3 May 2018

A weekend course on engraving, given by Cyr Boitard


Weekend courses on print making,
given at the Teinturerie, rue des Écluses, 37120 Richelieu,
i - 12 and 13 May 2018
ii - 9 and 10 June 2018
iii - 25 and 26 August 2018

Sunday 22 April 2018

Cheers! and bon appetit! - Braslou Bière

'Clifton Porter', (5.6% alc.), with pasta bolognese
Taste of toffee!

Not filtered,
Not Pasteurised,
refermented in the bottle,
Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, honey, yeast.


Brasserie de Braslou
5 Les Varennes, 37120 BRASLOU

Restoring the station for the new 'voie verte' cycle path

Richelieu Station was the terminus of a railway line that connected the cité idéale across the Vienne to Chinon and thence onward to Paris. The line was constructed in the 1860s mainly to transport 'white' veal quickly to the hungry markets in Paris. This trade collapsed, and did not really find a significant replacement through the twentieth century, although the line itelf remained a useful passenger line for the local townsfolk. The line held on over the years until 2010 or so. At the end of its life it continued feebly in the amateur stewardship of Trains à Vapeur de Touraine, who has a impressive collection of both locomotives and carriages.

The town has now developed the old trackways to be a easy cycle way to connect the town with Chinon, a neighbour with a strong touristic and historic character that compliments that of Richelieu itself.  While the tracks have been removed and the cycle way laid out, we have all waited to see what is proposed for the few stations along the line.

Below we can see how the Richelieu station is being comprehensively restored and refurbished.

Saturday 14 April 2018

'A small hole has opened in the roof'

The Hôtel Faisan - the Pheasant Hotel - is located on the place du Marché. It has been derelict for a long time - at least since 2004. It is owned by someone who seems unwilling to redevelop if they are required by the town hall and Bâtiments de France to remove the upper second floor 'extension' that offers five windows that overlook the square.  Rather sad signs in dirty windows predicting a 'renaissance' for this building get dustier each year as the whole is neglected.  Windows get broken and the are boarded up, emphasising dereliction in this conspicuous location for the town.

Maybe with one hotel already flanking the square, Le Puits Doré - the Golden Well - viability for a second hotel cannot be justified by the current flow of visitors and tourists.  Who knows?

But dereliction caused by bad weather has caused rot in roof rafters and the collapse of a sector of the tiling.

It really is a shame that a sensible compromise cannot be found to allow the restoration of this building. If the square needs 'correct' façades as an instrument of the town's historic restoration policy, it seems that the Mairie could find some compensatory property advantage elsewhere.


Thursday 12 April 2018

The 'Dome' in the parc of Richelieu

The 'dome' is the last remaining part of the 'avant cour' of the château de Richelieu. It was a large former manège - or horse riding hall - that led through to the exercising yard behind.  Until recently the building was being used as a venue for talks and concerts, located at a comfortable and pretty walk from the cité idéale itself. The original building had been considerably changed in the 19th century as this dome was formerly sandwiched between other modules of the courtyard perimeter, then demolished. Under the management of the Heine family, solid abutments were added to the four corners to make the building stable, and the east and west walls were created and elevated over the 'stumps' of the former flanking pavilions.  It was put back in shape as best could be, very much in the optimistic manner of the ebullient 19th century taste.

The roof in particular has become unstable since the days of the Heine family and now the whole building is currently under restoration.  This year, the August music festival will be obliged to relocate to other premises.

Pictures below show the current state of the works.


Tuesday 27 March 2018

Friday 9 March 2018

Braslou Bière

Tarifs : 2,50 € l'unité de 33 centilitres ; 12 € le pack de 6. 
Contact : brasserie de Braslou, 
5, les Varennes, à Braslou, 
tél., e-mail :


Friday 23 February 2018


Porte de Châtellerault

a snowy garden within the walls

Porte de Chinon

Chinon castle across the Vienne river

Saturday 3 February 2018

The Abbé Henri Proust's favourite tipple - Decanter Magazine

Top 75 'Best Buy' world wines of 2017. Domaine de La Noblaie - Pierre de Tuf 

Domaine de La Noblaie is the favourite supplier of Chinon wine to the old prelate, Henri Proust (died 1902). It makes a special Chinon - 'Pierre de Tuf' - in an open bowl gouged into the tuffeau rock of the winemaker's cellar. Surprisingly, this age old method seems to work fine, with the grape skin crust protecting the developing wine from the air's oxygen above.

"Glug Glug" to paraphase the Master of Chinon - François Rabelais...

Front cover of the magazine
January 2018