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A view of the parc du château created by Cardinal Richelieu in the first half of the 17th century. The château has since been pulled down but the surrounding park and the town that he established outside the gates still remain.

Some information taken from a somewhat longer article about the town and château on Wikipedea:

Richelieu is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France. It lies south of Chinon and west of Sainte-Maure de Touraine and is surrounded by mostly agricultural land. Its inhabitants are called Richelais, and Richelaises.

Because of its design as the "ideal city" of the seventeenth century, the town is the subject of various protective measures as regards its architecture.

In 1343, salt became a state monopoly by order of the Valois king Philip VI, who established the gabelle, the tax on salt. Anjou was part of the "great gabelle" area and encompassed sixteen special tribunals or "salt granaries", including that of Richelieu.

The village was created as a 17th century model "new town". It was built at the order of Cardinal Richelieu, who had spent his youth there and bought the village of his ancestors; he had the estate raised to a duché-pairie in August 1631. He engaged the architect Jacques Lemercier, who was already responsible for the Sorbonne and the Cardinal's hôtel in Paris, the Palais Cardinal (now the Palais-Royal).

With the permission of the king, Louis XIII, he created from scratch a walled town on a grid arrangement, and, enclosing within its volumes the modest home of his childhood, an adjacent palace, the château de Richelieu, surrounded by an ornamental moat and large imposing walls enclosing a series of entrance courts towards the town and, on the opposite side, grand axially-planned formal vista gardens of parterres and gravel walks, a central circular fountain, and views reaching to an exedra cut in the surrounding trees and pierced by an avenue in the woodlands extending to the horizon. The pleasure grounds were enclosed in woodland; their innovative example was subsequently followed and extended at Vaux-le-Vicomte and in the gardens of Versailles. Construction took place between 1631 and 1642 – the year of the Cardinal's death – and employed around 2000 workers.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6111 W: 61 N: 17754] (79973)
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