Paris Day Trip :
Practical informations

Vaux is one of the most exquisite of french chateaux (and less crowded than Versailles, whose construction it reputedly inspired), but getting there can be a bitch, as there is no shuttle service from the train station in Melun to the Chateau 7 km away.

Driving : The castle is 50km out of Paris. Take autoroute A4 or A6 from Paris and exit at Troyes-Nancy by N104. Head toward Meaux on N36 and follow the signs.
By train : Take the RER to Melun from Chatelet-les Halles or Gare de Lyon (45 minutes). Then tale a taxi to the Chateau. You can walk, but it is a perilous trek - on the highway. Follow avenue de Thiers to the highway 36, direction MEAUX and follow signs to Vaux-le-Vicomte. It will take you 1h30-2h.


    Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's Minister of Finance, assembled the triumvirate of le Vau, Le Brun, and Le Nôtre (architect, artist and lan
dscaper) to build Vaux in 1641. On august 17, 1661, upon the completion of what was then France's most beautiful château, Fouquet threw an extravagant 6000 guest party in honor of Louis XIV. The King and Anne d'Autriche  were but two if the witnesses to a regal bacchanalia that premiered poetry by Jean de la Fontaine and a comedy ballet, les Facheux, byvaux le vicomte Molière. After novelties like elephants in crystal jewelry and whales in the canal, the evening concluded in a "chinese" fireworks extravaganza featuring the King and Queen's coat of arms and pyrotechnics squirrels (squirrels were Fouquet's family symbol). But the housewarming bash was the beginning of the end for Fouquet. Shortly thereafter, young Louis XIV - supposedly furious at having been upstaged - ordered Fouquet arrested Once he was in custody, it came to light that Fouquet had been embezzling state funds. As Voltaire later write : "At six in the evening, Fouquet was king of France, at two the next morning, he was nothing."  In a trial that lasted three years, the judges voted narrowly for banishment over death. Louis XIV overturned the judgment in favor if life imprisonment - the only time in French history that the head of state overruled the court's decision in favor of a more severe sentence. Fouquet was to remain imprisoned at Pignerol, in the french Alps, until his death in 1680. Many suspected that Fouquet was the man in the iron mask, including Alexandre Dumas, who fictionalized the story in le Vicomte de Bragelonne.

paris day trip

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