An insider’s tour of the magnificent seventeenth-century castle and gardens, conceived by Le Vau, Le Brun, and Le Nôtre, that inspired the great châteaux of Europe. Vaux le Vicomte’s rich history began in 1641, when infamous finance minister Nicolas Fouquet bought the estate and enlisted architect Louis Le Vau, decorator Charles Le Brun, and garden designer André Le Nôtre to transform it into a lavish residence. His extravagance piqued Louis XIV’s jealousy, and he was thrown into prison for mishandling funds. The château inspired the design of Versailles and was later home to the great chef Vatel, who famously died for his art.
This volume traces the château’s history from the seventeenth century through the Belle Époque, World War I, and its public opening in 1968. Exclusive photography and archival documents offer unprecedented access to the château, furnishings, and gardens, and illuminate the extraordinary secrets of court life and centuries of celebrations that include the enchanting candlelit tours held today.