Sunday, June 3, 2012


Cardinal de Richelieu by Philippe de Champaigne
You don't have to read much French history before coming across the name Cardinal Richelieu.  He was a French clergyman, noble and statesman.  He was a Patron of the Arts and founded l'Académie française.  He is the lead character in "The Three Musketeers".  And importantly for Canadians is the fact that as an advocate for Samuel de Champlain and the retention of Quebec, he founded the Compagnie des Cent-Associés and saw the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye return Quebec City to French rule under Champlain.

Whew!  In past trips we've come across his history in La Rochelle and Brouage.  In 1627, Richelieu ordered the army to besiege the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle, starving many of its citizens.  Brouage is where he stayed while the siege was going on.

A quick summation of Cardinal Richelieu is that he worked towards creating an absolute monarchy, suppressed the once-mighty aristocracy, and utterly destroyed remnants of Huguenot political power.  Richelieu's policies were the requisite prelude to Louis XIV becoming the most powerful monarch, and France the most powerful nation, in all of Europe during the late 17th century.

We visited the town of Richelieu.  Model of 17th century town planning, the town of Richelieu remains unchanged today, and the symmetry of both the roads and edifices is remarkable.

One of four gates to the walled town

Richelieu spent his youth here and when he was in a position to do so, bought the village of his ancestors. 

Richelieu then engaged the architect Jacques Lemercier, responsible for La Sorbonne, and the Palais Cardinal - now the Palais Royal - in Paris.

He created a walled town on a grid arrangement, enclosing within it the modest home of his childhood, and an adjacent palace: the Château Richelieu, surrounded by an ornamental moat, vista gardens and gravel walks.
Église Richelieu
Stained glass

Fountain in Town Square

Second Hand Store
Miniature school room

Post Office
Statue of Richelieu

We can vouch that this town has the best café crème that Karl has ever tasted because the cream arrives hot and steaming, and I can vouch that the corner bakery has the best "pain aux raisins" - they mix a bit of pastry cream to the raisins.  Just delicious!

Richelieu Park is a vast section of the town where people come to picnic, enjoy the gardens, and appreciate the fresh air.

Park Gate

Richelieu in cast iron art

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal de Richelieu.  September 9, 1585 - December 4, 1642. 
Karl by the moat
Marguerite by the moat

Central Focus



Perfect rose

Marguerite in Rose Garden

Dôme - the old stables

Feel the serenity

Karl in formal gardens

Karl IN a tree

The air is so pure

Life is grand

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