Pride before a Fall

This is my review of Vaux le Vicomte by Jean-Marie Perouse de Montclos.

I read this as an introductory guide prior to a visit to the palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The large number of high quality photographs of plans, internal rooms, details of artwork and external elevations and vistas past and present combine to give a good overall impression.

I found the opening sections on the background history the most interesting part. The work was commissioned by Foucquet, the ambitious bourgeios financier who bought his way to high office as Louis X1V's Superintendent of Finance, embellished the palace to entertain the king in grand style in 1661, only to be charged with corruption and imprisoned soon afterwards. It seems that jealous rivals such as Colbert traded on the King's unease over the possible threat posed by such a wealthy and able subject not to mention the rumours of Foucquet's interest in his mistress Louise de la Vallière. So, Foucquet may have been no more corrupt than other holders of high office – clearly not much has changed….!

Details of the recent restoration of the palace are also informative.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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