Vaux le Vicomte (crs)
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In 1641 Nicolas Fouquet purchased the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte. It was then only a small chateau. He was an ambitious twenty-six year-old member of the Parlement of Paris. When Fouquet became King Louis XIV's superintendent of finances (Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry) in 1657, he commissioned Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre to renovate Vaux-le-Vicomte to match his ambitions. Fouquet brought out the best in the three. To secure the necessary grounds for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. The chateau and its patron became a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel and an impressive firework show. The chateau was lavish and refined, but these characteristics proved tragic for its owner. The king had Fouquet arrested shortly after a famous fête that took place on August 17, 1661 where Molière's play 'Les Fâcheux' debuted. The celebration had been too impressive and the superintendent's home too luxurious. Jean-Baptiste Colbert led the king to believe that his minister's estate was funded by the misappropriation of public funds. Colbert, who then replaced Fouquet as superintendent of finances, arrested him. Fouquet imprisoned for life, his wife was exiled and Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees from the estate. He then sent Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun to design the palace and gardens of Versailles. Madame Fouquet recovered her property ten years later and retired there with her eldest son. The estate is open to the public.
Identifier: 215, Last Accessed: 2017-09-19 17:34:56
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