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Richelieu in the Loire Valley

 Richelieu in France

gate into Richelieu The town of Richelieu takes its name from its founder, Cardinal Richelieu the hugely egotistical character who in his time, after the king, (Louis XIII) was the most powerful person in France.

 The Cardinal decided his position demanded a great residence and in 1625 he commissioned the famous architect Jacques Lemercier to design his palace and then the town bearing his name.

The town is very interesting from an architectural point of view, it was built (1631-1642) in an innovative grid style which many modern cities now follow.. you have to be impressed by Lemercier's foresight. There is a great value (€4.00) exhibition https://www.ville-richelieu.fr about the man and the town in one of the town houses at 28 Grande Rue. They have a very good 3D recreation of his lost chateau plus a great slide show of the life of the cardinal..
 Lemercier as architect to the king was responsible for the domed church (1635) at the Sorbonne College in Paris. One of his last commissions was the design of the Church of Saint-Roch, one of the largest in Paris, where the cornerstone was laid by Louis XIV in 1653.

Eglise Notre-Dame de Richelieu





The main church "Eglise Notre Dame" remains in much the same condition as when it was first built, much like the timber framed market hall which is still used for the weekly market.

The town was originally moated, but today most of this area alongside the moats is now used by the householders, as gardens
You can take a very pleasant walk through the grounds of Richelieu's former palace, it had been damaged and plundered during the French Revolution and was later demolished, but you really have to stretch your imagination to reinstate what must have been a very grand and opulent residence judging by the size of the land and the Cardinal's ego!

The park at Richelieu in France


If you are the outdoor type a visit to the tourist board will get you plans/routes for 26 marked out hiking trails for the area from 6 to 22km long. You can also hire bicycles locally to again take advantage of three planned routes or the kids can simply be let loose in the safety of the park.

The town also has an outdoor pool. (pacine)  

  External links:

Official town website:

https://www.ville-richelieu.fr/ (In French)


You can see what the cardinal's chateau would have looked like here:




Great blogpost on current conditions in Richelieu here:



Good photographs here of 2012's 'Cape et Epee Festival


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Directions to Richelieu


To get directions to Richelieu type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'




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"Author: Jim Craig"


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