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 13 September 2021

A new floor in the NW town walls tower.

A new floor has been laid onto the original 1630s first floor beams of the North West corner tower of Richelieu's girdling walls. The floor level was raised back to the original level, using floor laths and a structural floor of rather modern! 'OSB' - organised strand board. This ensures a strong and flat bearing surface to the old wobbly skeleton of old floor/ceiling beams. We have been told that the fine new floor boards themselves are of poplar wood.

The next small step will be the restoration of the two fireplaces that are both quite dilapidated, and need many new fire-safe tiles and bricks to complete.  Two cast-iron 'plaques' at the rear wall and two pairs of large firedogs are required so the chimneys can finally be used again, after a very long lapse. The chimneys above must have been restored or rebuilt in the 19th century, as must have been the roof itself Both seem in relatively good condition.

Then  - - what to do with the now-rotten lime plastering that barely adheres to the walls and causes endless cascades of dust and dirt and filth?  The cut masonry too needs detailed repair from the effects of 500 years use!

The little project rolls on! Many thanks to all the contributing artisans for their support and hard work!

looking northwards to the occulus window

the staircase handrail and the first floor fireplace.


Saturday 7 August 2021

Nocturne Gourmande - Friday 6 August 2021

Everyman has supper together in the place du Marché

Each year an evening is set aside for local caterers to 'feed the multitudes'. In Covid-19 year 2, everyone had to be cautious but it seems that there is much less hazard in the open air.  Many or even most of us are now double-innoculated. Everyone enjoyed this favourite annual public event. 
 My dish was 10 euro paella.....

Itinerant musical entertainment

Young and old alike, partying together....


Wednesday 4 August 2021

Pictures from 'Les Cardinales' - antiques on the Grande Rue, Richelieu

A group of four children playing on a stile
Unnamed artist with original frame

A pair of picture frames!

The picture was bought for 290 euros at
Les Cardinales 12 Grande Rue 37120 Richelieu


Tuesday 3 August 2021

After the blaze.....

The three houses which were recently burnt out by fire on the Route de Tours have been secured and await full restoration. The carriageway in front of them was closed for several weeks while the fire ravaged walls were stabilised. Instablity was the result of the lack of roof timbers that had given lateral restraint to the front street facade.


Monday 2 August 2021

The Tour à l'angle is finally in use

The Cité Idéale's girdling wall NW corner tower can now be used practically, as he new floor and staircase make it all accessible. The little tower is now kept locked by the new entry door, but several keys have been offered to it new guardians. The completely replaced staircase leads to the upper floor - accessible for the first time in decades (centuries?), but the upper floor awaits its new surface flooring boards that will permit normal access and loading. We trust the restoration will continue so that this little building, unchanged in essence since it was built at the cost of the French Crown in the 1630s, is fully and practically useful to the present day.

The tower's interior - new floor; new staircase, hospitality!

A little country feast for new visitors

Upstairs awaits new floor boarding

Midsummer gardening

New authentic windows - painted in 'oxblood'

The first floor's occulus window (left open!!)

Tuesday 2 March 2021

M.Milon's drone photos of the Cité Cardinale


View looking west towards Loudun.

The Orangerie in the parc de Richelieu.

The moated site of the original Château de Richelieu looking SW.

Merci à M.Milon - gazette du Richelais

Wednesday 27 January 2021

NW Corner Tower - The new floor is laid

 The new floor is composed of red fired clay carreaux (rectangular), rather than tomettes (hexagonal), being laid here by the masonry firm Miguel Dutemple. They are traditionally laid tight up to each other, without lime mortar pointing. At the end they are swept over with sharp sand which fills all cracks such as are left. The tightness and depth of the tiles keep them all firmly in place, the more so if the edges are constrained at the walls, as in this particular case.


entreprises de maçonnerie
Sarrazinière, 86420 PRINÇAY

Téléphone 05 49 98 50 90
Mobile 06 21 55 63 74 
Téléphone 09 66 43 07 60


Wednesday 20 January 2021

The north-west tower now receives its inner staircase

After many, many years, it is now again possible to reach the upper floor of this 1630s guard tower. Restoration work continues, even across Covid-19 pandemic year 2020-21.  

Although formerly being in a dilapidated condition, this building is probably the most authentic piece of seventeenth-century construction work in the entire Ville Idéale.  This NW corner of the town lay at the extremity of a nunnery that, from the first, served the cardinal duc's New Town. Its ecclesiastical ownership prevented encroachments into the moat beyond by private dwellings or gardens as elsewhere on the three other sides, and allowed the structure to be uniquely preserved in its original format.  It must have been part restored in the 19th or 20th century as can be seen in the existing condition of the roof and chimney.

The restoration work has recreated the simple utilitarian character of this defensive building whose real purpose was more symbolic and stylistic than military.



Wednesday 13 January 2021

The Dôme in the parc - part of the chateau's original horse 'manège'

Originally this last remaining part of the château was a gateway through to the equestrian exercise area, and was used as a covered horse training hall (or manège).

It was flanked, east and west, by other matching buildings that together enclosed the inner arrival court.

From the east through the trees

The avenue of trees from town to château in autumn

from the central axis of château's symmetry, looking south.


in Covid-19 lockdown - January 20221