Travel to France's Most Over-the-Top Private Home
Vaux le Vicomte has one of history's greatest stories and changed the face of French architecture and design.
It's a palace with one of the greatest tales in French history—a minister overshadowing his king only to be pulled down to nothing. That’s the long and short of Nicolas Fouqet, King Louis XIV, and the fabulous Vaux-le-Vicomte, a chateau south of Paris that is the subject of a delightful new coffee table book from Flammarion, Vaux le Vicomte: A Private Invitation. The book is the latest selection for our series on gorgeous new travel related coffee table books, Just Booked.
Despite its thrilling backstory and its central role in the development of French style—the architect (Le Vau), decorator (Le Brun), and landscape designer (Le Notre) all went on to design Versailles—Vaux-le-Vicomte doesn’t have the same grip on the popular tourist imagination as other French chateaux. This new tome, with text from Guillaume Picon and photographs by Bruno Ehrs, will hopefully change that. The rooms captured are sumptuous and the vistas arresting—few rooms have ever competed with the oval Grand Salon looking out over Le Notre’s Baroque gardens. What is amazing is that the house is still in private hands, those of the de Vogüé family.
Especially captivating are photographs from Vaux’s signature event. Every Saturday from late spring to early fall, the chateau and grounds are lit entirely by candles as they were the night of Nicolas Fouqet’s grand party that sealed his fate with the Sun King.