Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Built for Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finance, Vaux-le-Vicomte is one of the largest châteaux in France and was a source of inspiration for the Château de Versailles. Its magnificence is the fruit of the work of some of the 17th century’s most famous artists: the architect Louis Le Vau, the decorator Charles Le Brun and the gardener André Le Nôtre.
A testament to Le Vau’s genius, the palace captivates visitors right from the front steps by the delicacy of its façade, with a pediment sculpted with squirrels – Fouquet’s emblem –, and the sweeping views of the gardens. Crossing the threshold, you enter the intimate world of one of the great 17th century abodes. Panelling, paintings and sculptures ornament the rooms, which are perfected by the beauty of Le Brun’s decors. The furniture and decorations are superbly preserved: from the King’s Bedroom with its gold-leaf stucco to Fouquet’s Bedroom, studded with artistic masterpieces. In the basement, you can dive into the effervescence of the kitchens once run by the famous majordomo Vatel, who later committed suicide, when in the service of the Prince of Condé, because of a late delivery of seafood for an important banquet…
The gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, are models of the French style and stretch out over 33 hectares, mixing intricate box hedge with a mirror pool that reflects the palace. A permanent exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the stages of how the garden was created. The visit continues with the Carriage Museum, in the palace’s former stables, where visitors can admire a rare collection of ancient coaches.
Making history fun
Children will enjoy the palace’s Fountain Shows as well as the chance to hire little electric cars to discover all the garden’s secret nooks. Period costumes are available for hire allowing children to play at being a musketeer or a courtly princess during the visit, while the grown-ups climb up to the roof lantern on the palace’s dome to enjoy a panoramic view over the estate. It is even possible to go for a ride on the canal aboard pedalos in the form of giant swans!
And don’t miss the famous candlelit evenings, when you can discover the château and its gardens lit up by more than 2,000 candles, or the Grand Siècle costume days that immerse visitors into a 17th-century atmosphere. As for refreshments, the onsite restaurant Le Relais de l’Écureuil serves both light snacks and full meals.
Days and opening hours
From 14⁄03 to 01/11/2020, daily between 10 am and 7 pm.
- 16.9 €
- Adult: 16.90 € Child (6-17 years): 11 € Student: 14.90 € Job seeker: 14.90 €. Free entry for children < 6 years.
Guided tour languages
Single services tour
- Unguided individual tours available permanently