Enchanted Noel at Vaux-le-Vicomte

Enchanted Noel at Vaux-le-Vicomte

It’s always been a magical place. The château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, 35 miles southeast of Paris, is a jewel box of a castle nestled in the same hilly green region that produces fromage de Brie. Built by Louis XIV’s Finance Minister Nicolas Fouquet, who enlisted the finest talents of his era, the same trio that later built Versailles. It was the scene of Fouquet’s triumph in 1661 — a housewarming celebration that dazzled even the Sun King. Shortly afterward, Louis had Fouquet arrested for embezzlement. He was imprisoned for the rest of his life and never saw his beloved château again.

Today Vaux is privately owned by Comte Patrice de Vogüé and his family, who have buffed its luster to a sheen that would have made Fouquet proud. The exquisite castle is even lovelier during the visites aux chandelles, when both castle and grounds glow in the flickering light of thousands of candles. And during the holiday season the château sparkles even more, with an allée of glittering white Christmas trees flanking the entrance, a forest of decorated trees in the Grand Salon, festive fires crackling in the imposing cheminées, the dining table set for a holiday feast and garlands of lights outlining the swirling boxwood patterns of the Le Nôtre gardens. Performances of Cendrillon (Cinderella) delight visitors of all ages and — a final touch of enchantment — there’s a magical snowfall every hour in the main courtyard. Dec 19-Jan 3. www.vaux-le-vicomte.com

Originally published in the December 2009 issue of France Today.

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Uniqlo in Paris
Next Article Marseille: Beyond Bouillabaisse

Related Articles