Vaux le Vicomte, Chambre des Muses!

And why not tell you of another wonderful room we love in the wonderfully gorgeous castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte in the village of Maincy, Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region of my belle France! I have written several posts on this wonderful castle but as usual feel need to expand a bit on the details. Therefore, here is a bit more on the chambre des muses or bedroom of Nicolas Fouquet!

The first floor (2nd US)  is that of the Fouquet family. Mr. and Mrs. each have their apartment. You can see the superintendent’s bedroom is the only one in the chateau to have retained its original decor, including a magnificent Gobelins tapestry. The castle once had 150 tapestries and Le Brun had created a workshop in the village near Maincy which, after Fouquet’s arrest, moved to Paris and became the Gobelins factory (manufacture des Gobelins). This is where he slept last before been taken by D’Artagnan to Nantes on orders of Louis XIV. The tapestries here are very rich and many were confiscated by Louis XIV until 1787. The five still in his room done at Gobelins for the Count of Toulouse son of Louis XIV with the arms attach of his wife Marie de Noailles at the angles. On top of the chimney you see another tapestry l’Amour pour qu’il demeure toujours auprés d’elle (love to always stay with her), with the traces of Marie-Madeleine de Castile that Nicolas Fouquet married in second marriage in 1651.

The Chambre des Muses was the bedroom of Nicolas Fouquet; it owes its name to the 9 Muses which animate the admirable ceiling imagined by Charles Le Brun whose central work is an oil on 4 x 4 meters octagonal canvas, Le Triomphe de La Fidélité, echoing the fidelity of Nicolas Fouquet to Louis XIV during the Fronde uprisings. We discover Clio, Muse of History and Fame, in the company of Prudence and Loyalty, and at the corner of the arches, the other eight muses, two by two: Euterpe, Music; Calliope, Epic Poetry; Terpsichore, Dance; Melpomene, the Tragedy; Thalie, the Comedy; Erato, Lyric Poetry; Polymnia, Painting; Urania, and Astronomy. On each side of the chairs, a pair of dressers called “Mazarines” by Boulle. On these chests of drawers, two 17C Chinese sandstone hawks with gilt bronze mount from the 18C. On the ceiling you have an Apollo with the lighs of the world and around the above description of the muses.

Maincy

Nicolas Fouquet’s bed room has the particularity of having an alcove with a raised platform which was to accommodate the superintendent’s bed but which remained unfinished. This platform served as a stage for Molière as a theater on July 12, 1661 for the representation of the L’École des maris, (school of husbands), before members of the royal family,  guests of Fouquet. On the ceiling of this alcove is the second oil on oval canvas by Le Brun: La Nuit, where you see the divinity Diane gracefully unfolding her bluish veils, which will also be restored. The very refined decor of the ceiling of the Triumph of Faithfulness symbolically combines science and the arts. Here you are at the dawn of the first Versaillese style, inspired by Italian mannerism. Traumatized by an old transposition of the original canvas, this large painting is in a poor state of conservation requiring urgent intervention. All the windows have been covered by glass and lead as was done to windows in the 18C.

You too can participate in helping keeping this beauty for all of us. As said, I am friends of the Castle for many years and one of the first castle ever visited in France since the dept Seine et Marne is the birth place of my dear late wife Martine. And we love these monuments/castles.

The Les Amis de Vaux-le-Vicomte association has 2,500 members. For thirty years, it has been working to find, all over the world, pieces of furniture, works of art, documents that belonged to Vaux or relate to its history. Among the treasures now on display at the chateau, a portrait of Madame Fouquet by Le Brun, letters to D’Artagnan on the detention of the superintendent at Pinerolo, an extremely rare manuscript by La Fontaine. And, the eighth tapestry from the Barberini collection, found in the United States. Today 2 M € are disbursed annually for the maintenance of Vaux-le-Vicomte. More on this association in French here: Friends of Vaux le Vicomte

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here as usual by me are

The official webpage of Vaux le VicomteCastle of Vaux le Vicomte

Tourist office of the area Melun val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte in English: Tourist office of Melun Val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte

The tourist office of the Ïle de France region on Vaux le Vicomte in English: TOurist office region of Ile de France on Vaux le Vicomte

And there you go another wonderful gorgeous room in magnificent Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, not far from Paris but not in Paris or a thing to do in Paris. This is an all together wonderful chic adventure I recommend to all visitors to France. Hope you enjoy it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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