Château Vaux-le-Vicomte Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Baroque French estate that inspired Versailles and other European palaces stands as a marvel of 17th-century architecture and a historical treasure. 

Preserving France's Largest Private Palace

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

In 1641, the young parliamentarian Nicolas Fouquet bought the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte, located 30 miles southeast of Paris. Over the next 20 years, Fouquet (who became King Louis XIV's Superintendent of Finances) oversaw the building of a majestic chateau, tapping the king's primary architect, Louis Le Vau, as well as painter Charles Le Brun and garden designer André Le Notre to realize his grand vision. By the time that Fouquet christened the chateau with an extravagant party in 1661, Louis XIV had already taken notice in all the wrong ways: Statesman Jean-Baptiste Colbert poisoned the king against Fouquet, misleading Louis XIV into believing that Fouquet had funded construction with public money and that Fouquet was raising an army against him. Colbert replaced Fouquet as France's finance minister and Fouquet was eventually sentenced to life in prison.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was shuttered and its contents were seized by the king, who ordered Le Vau, Le Brun, and Le Notre to build an even larger palace: Versailles. Fouqet's wife, Marie-Madeleine de Castille, repossessed the estate a decade later, selling it in 1705 to military commander Marshal de Villars. De Villars' son sold Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1764 to the Duc de Praslin, whose descendants auctioned it off a century later after it had fallen into neglect. French sugar magnate Alfred Sommier began restoring the estate to its original glory, a mission that his great-great-grandchildren, Jean-Charles, Alexandre, and Ascanio de Vogüé honor to this day.

Open to the public since 1968, the largest private estate classified as a French Historical Monument is a living testament to 17th-century French grandeur. In addition to Christmas- and Easter-themed programming, the chateau offers "Candlelit Evenings," during which the estate is illuminated by 2,000 candles.

GRoW Support


Event- Retour aux Sourees


Project Support - Fountain Renovation