Before I introducing Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, Let me tell you a story.
There was a French guy called Nicolas Fouquet,who was the finance minister to Louis XIV. He was an art enthusiast and surrounded himself with the best sculptors, painters,writers and musicians. He bought himself a gorgeous estate at Vaux-le-Vicomte and invited his artisitic friends to develop it the greatest chateau in France. In 1661, Fouquet threw an extremely lavish banquet and also invited King. While, outshining the king wasn’t the best policy. Fouquet’s party had been deemed too ostentatious by the king, who accused of a misappropriation of the Royal’s money. The jealousy played a big part of it. Fouquet was arrested and later imprisoned for life. Soon Louis XIV invited the power team who designed Château deVaux-le-Vicomte with the most celebrated artists of the 17th century: architect Le Vau, landscaper Le Nôtre and painter Le Brun, to go on to design Versailles. So I don’t think it is an extraggeration to say Château deVaux-le-Vicomte was the inspiration and even origianal version of Versilles.
No doubt, Versailles as a stunning example of French Baroque architecture, is one of the most popular attractions in the Paris environs, with millions tourists visiting every year. But if you’re looking for something less crowded, I would suggest you to Vaux-le-Vicomte. Less than an hour from Paris, this gorgeous château brings you with fascinating history, gorgeous interiors and delightful gardens. Pefect spot for one day trip from Paris. I have been to Paris for many times and made my way to Vaux this April under perfect weather for Paris. When you visit Chateau, you can also rent a constume to immerse yourself in the 17th Century of France and being a noble. That was I did to have fun. They also have many cloths to rent for kids.
Besides, between May and October, Vaux holds romantic candlelit evenings every Saturday. The château is illuminated inside and out with 2,000 candles. You can dine at Les Charmilles facing the dazzling château and overlooking the western side of the formal gardensat(reservations recommended). Alternatively, you can sip a glass of Champagne and nibble macaroon in the garden at Le Songe de Vaux while reclining in a lawn chair. A fireworks display wraps up the evening at 10:50. It was quite pity I didn’t visited Vaux on Saturday. So if you can, just don’t miss it. Make yourself feel like in the middle of that lavish feast.
Also if you are watching BBC serises Versailles (Highly recommded, I am a big fan of it), you will be surprised to discover that not much of Versailles was filmed in Louis XIV’s famous palace of the same name. While, some of the scenes were filmed in Vaux. The reason is not because it is too touristy. The main reason is the palace itself which is nothing 17th Century there. That is because Marie Antoinette ( the last Queen of France before the French Revolution,wife of Louis XVI) came after Louis XIV, who hated everything that Louis XIV did before her. So she destroyed everything. There is nothing 17th century in there.When I visited Vaux, just feel I was in the middle of that series.So magic!
How to get there:
- From Paris Gare de l’Est, take the direct train Line P (in the direction of Provins)
- Get off at the Verneuil l’Etang train station. Direct trains every 60 minutes (travel time 35 minutes).
- There is a “Châteaubus” shuttle to pick visitors up from the Verneuil l’Etang train station to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. The shuttle is in front of the train station exit. Cash only
Château deVaux-le-Vicomte has a very comprehensive website from how to get there, how to book the table at resturant and how much the entry fee is. You can find everything there. Find more click here
If you are interested in What to do in Paris , click here for Blog The new idea for non-first time Paris Vistors