The Château de Vaux le Vicomte is a 17th-century masterpiece built by Louis le Vau for Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's Superintendent des Finances, and inaugurated with great pomp on 17 August 1661 in the presence of the Sun King. Three weeks later, however, on the order of the King, Nicolas Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life for, among other things, being too ambitious and having had this architectural gem built. The Château's splendour later provided the inspiration for the famous Palace of Versailles.
The Château de Vaux le Vicomte, situated in the village of Maincy, is remarkably well-preserved and houses an exceptional collection of furniture, tapestries and works of art carefully chosen by the leading interior designer of the day, Charles Le Brun. Among the most beautiful rooms are the Great Salon, the King's Chamber, the Muses Salon and the Dining Room. The tour also takes you down into the cellars and kitchens, where the famous chef Vatel used to work, and to the top of the dome with its magnificent roof structure and view over the park.
The fantastic formal gardens designed by Le Nôtre on the opposite side of the moat surrounding the Château are a lovely place to walk around. Visitors will discover a host of different scenes, perspective effects, embroidery-like flowerbeds, ornamental ponds, grottoes, waterfalls and elegant statues – a wonderful place for a daydream!
Before you leave the estate, make sure you take a look around the outbuildings, where you'll find the Horse and Carriage Museum with its fine collection of 18th- and 19th-century horse-drawn coaches and carriages.
On Saturday evenings from May to October, the Château and gardens are illuminated with thousands of candles – a truly magical moment!