CHÂTEAU DE VAUX-LE-VICOMTE
Address : 77950 Maincy - France
Opening Hours :
-From 17 March to 4 November : Every day 10:00‐19:00, last entrance at 17:00
*Every Saturday from 5 May to 6 October, the catsle is open until 0:00 for Candlelit Evenings, last entrance at 23:00
-From 5 to 23 November : Closed
-From 24 November to 23 December : Wed-Fri 11:00‐19:00, last entrance at 17:45 / Sat-Sun 11:00‐20:00, last entrance at 18:45
-From 24 December to 6 Janyary 2019 : Every day (except 25 Dec & 1 Jan) 11:00‐20:00, last entrance at 18:45
*24 and 31 December, the catsle will close at 18:00, last entrance at 16:45
-Day visit : Adult 16.5€ / 6-17 years old 10.5€ / Under 6 years old Free
-During Chandlelit Evenings or Christmas : Adult 19.5€ / 6‐17 years old 13.5€ / Under 6 years old Free
-During other events : Adult 17.5€ / 6‐17 years old 12€ / Under 6 years old Free
How to get there from Paris :
From Paris Gare de l'Est, take the direct train Line P (in the direction of Provins). Direct trains come every 60 minutes (travel time 35 minutes). Get off at the Verneuil l’Etang train station. Then take “Châteaubus” shuttle in front of the station to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte (20 minutes).
*There is only round trip ticket for Châteaubus. If you buy the ticket on the bus, you can only pay by cash. You can book your bus ticket on castle's website
Official website : www.vaux-le-vicomte.com
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is located in Maincy, almost 50 kilometres southeast of Paris. The castle is not the most well-known among numerous French castles, however, it was served as a model for the famous Palace of Versailles and had inspired many other castles build in the 17th century.
The castle was built in 1656 by Nicolas Fouquet's order. He gathered famous skilled artisans at that time to build a magnificent castle from scratch. Louis XIV was fascinated by Vaux-le-Vicomte's charme and decided afterward to hire these artisans who contributed to the construction such as Le Vau (architect) and Le Notre (landscaper) for the construction of Versailles. This is why Vaux-le-Vicomte is considered the origin of Versailles. Indeed, we can see a lot of similarities in style between these two castles.
The man of the portrait is Nicolas Fouquet, the person who gave a birth to Vaux-le-Vicomte. Known for his boldness and intelligence, he quickly rose to Superintendent of Finances under Louis XIV and built up his wealth using his authority. His final aim was to work as Chief Minister to the young King. But Louis XIV considered Fouquet's ambition excessive and suspected his extravagance. Colbert, jealous of Fouquet's success, took advantage of the king's displeasure with his rival and reported Fouquet's embezzlement to Louis XIV. Completely lost King's confidence, Fouquet was arrested in 1661. Victim of his too big success, Fouquet could hardly live in this splendid catsle.
The castle reflects Fouquet's spirit who was very confident and generous. For example, the gourgeous tapestries that we can find everywhere in the castle were very expensive at that time and were considered a symbol of wealth.
Fouquet was also known as a keen patron of the arts and supported talented artists such as Molière or La Fontaine. When Louis XIV visited the castle, Fouquet entertained him with a feast and one of Molière's plays.
Since the word "Fouquet" means squirrel in a dialect of his ancestor's home, the squirrel was used for his family emblem. As in this picture, you can find many squirrels everywhere in Vaux-le-Vicomte!
This stunning bedroom was made for king's stay. The techniques of sculpture and painting which give a volume to the ceiling can also be seen in the Palace of Versailles. Vaux-le-Vicomte is smaller than Versailles, but as beautiful as this world-known palace! Besides, you can fully enjoy these splendid decorations here, without being bothered by a crowd of tourists.
The view from the dome is magnificent! You can look out over a beautiful symmetrical garden decorated with elaborate geometric motifs. Made by Le Notre, the founder of the French formal garden style, this garden had been served as a model for many French and European gardens built in the 17th century.
In addition, you can have a picnic in this garden. So it is a good idea to pass your afternoon lying on the grass after your visit.
Even if it takes one hour from Paris, the castle is quite easy to access since the schedule of the Châteaubus corresponds well to arrival time of the train.
Every season, the castle organizes various events. From May to October, we recommend to visit on Saturday evening when the very romantic "Candlelit Evenings" is held. During the event, whole territory is illuminated by 2,000 candles!
Written and photographed by Rei Nishiyama