Château Vaux-le-Vicomte_reviving charm

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Before traveling home from San Francisco we were able to spend some time in one of the airport lounges before boarding our flight. To help pass the time I grabbed a couple of newspapers to read, including the French newspaper Le Figaro. The front page immediately caught my eye with an article about the French Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the largest privately owned chateau in France. If you plan to visit France, the chateau is an easy day trip from Paris.

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I don’t actually read French but I was able to gather a little from the article…

The current owner, Count Patrice de Vogüé, received Vaux-le-Vicomte as a wedding gift in 1967. After they were married, Count Patrice de Vogüé and his wife Countess Cristina (seen below) vowed to open the château to the public. They made good on that promise a year later by opening it up to the public in 1968. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Vaux-le-Vicomte being open to the masses. What a wonderful milestone and gift to all that enter its gates.

Vaux-le-Vicomte is “a masterpiece of classical art, the apogee of grandeur and refinement ….”. –Count Patrice de Vogüé

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Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally built in the mid-1600’s by Nicolas Fouquet, who served as a chief financial officer to King Louis XIV. Upon its completion, Fouquet held a lavish party at his new château and invited the King to attend. (Who wouldn’t want to host a party here?!) Unfortunately, bringing much attention to himself and Vaux-le-Vicomte backfired because one of the King’s advisor’s felt that Fouquet had certainly been embezzling money to finance his new estate. Fouquet was sent to prison and the King eventually seized the property. Ten years after Fouquet’s imprisonment, Madame Fouque was able to gain back control of the property but eventually sold it in 1705 after the death of her husband and son.  There were a series of owners after that but in 1875 after 35 years of much neglect, the current family purchased it through auction. As mentioned previously, the property is now owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé with their three sons (shown below) helping with the continued administration of this grand estate.

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The Château is surrounded by a moat and beautiful French gardens. It is said that Vaux-le-Vicomte was the actually the inspiration for the construction of Versailles.

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Vaux-le-Vicomte plays host to many events throughout the year including an Easter egg hunt and celebration for both kids and adults. Can you imagine how fun that would be!!??

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During a portion of the year, an array of 2,000 candles are lit for you to enjoy the gardens at night. Firework displays are also displayed.

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Check out this article by Sotheby’s to learn more about Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, it’s history, and is restoration. The official Vaux-le-Vicomte website can be viewed here. 

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You won’t find me talking politics here but I do think it is important to vote. Given that tomorrow is Election Day to select the next President of the United States, I think this quote by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt is quite appropriate:

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.       –Franklin D. Roosevelt


Since we are on the topic of Presidential matters today, I would like to share pictures from the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home, library, and museum with you. My first visit was in 2001 on a road trip that took Mr. B and I from upstate New York to Massachusetts.  While preparing this post I pulled out the small handful of photos and memorabilia from that trip that were tucked away in a scrapbook.


Fast forward to Fall 2015. We took a similar trip and once again visited the FDR National Historic Site. It is beautifully situated in the town of Hyde Park, New York along the Hudson River. The property contains several buildings including “Springwood”, the home where FDR was born and raised. The property was donated to the American people in 1943 with a condition that the family be allowed to use it until after his death. It was later transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1945 and is now considered part of the U.S National Park Service.

As someone who is avidly interested in all things design related, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of Springwood and the beautiful grounds surrounding it. I was hoping to supplement this post with information from the FDR Library and Museum. I sent an email to them on October 23 requesting information and have yet to hear back…


The facade of the home is stunning with its balustrades, rock facade detail, vivid green shutters and ivy-covered walls. If you choose to tour Springwood, the front door is where the tour begins. fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-4

The tour of Springwood ends with you walking out a hideous back staircase that was installed by the National Park Service. I understand the need to provide accessibility (probably for fire exit reasons…after all, safety first) but something more appropriate for the style of the home would have been a much better alternative.  fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-8

As you walk down the exterior staircase you are able to catch a beautiful view of the grounds. fdr-home-via-revivingcharm_com-5Just beyond the thick row of trees on the right is the Hudson River.

The horse stable (above & below) is beautifully designed inside and out. I thought it was humorous to see a plaque above one of the stables for the horse known as “New Deal”. For some reason, I didn’t manage to get a picture of the plaque but I did capture some great metal work detail of that stable door (bottom, right).


The final resting place of FDR is a serene location on the Springwood property. The building seen in the distance is the FDR Library and Museum. We’ll go there next…keep scrolling down…fdr-grave-at-springwood-via-revivingcharm_comThe official FDR Library dedication was a small, quiet affair with only close friends and family attending the ceremony in June 1941. Did you know that this was the nation’s first Presidential library and the only one ever used by a sitting President?

Here is the front entrance to the Museum and Library as it exists today. Don’t let the size fool you. Although the  building may look rather modest in size, it contains a rather large collection in the upper and lower levels.  From the exterior, the scale of the building is very appropriate for its setting.

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Ladies and gentleman, this concludes our extremely quick tour of the grounds of our nation’s very first Presidential Library. I hope someday you might be able to visit for yourself. And if you do be sure to allow for an entire day to take advance of all the property has to offer. It is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy Election Day and don’t forget to vote!

Original photos by Reviving Charm via Iphone, unless otherwise noted.


Having admired and studied the field of architecture I have a deep respect for the work of architect I.M. Pei. In my book, he is considered one of the great masters of modern architecture. He was born in China in 1917 as Ieoh Ming Pei and moved to New York to study architecture where he established his first architectural firm in 1955. Today marks his 99th birthday. If you aren’t familiar with his name I will venture to guess you are definitely familiar with at least a couple of his most notable architectural commissions which I am sharing with you today. It wasn’t until I put this post together that I realized there were some striking resemblances between the two projects with the expansive use of steel, glass and geometric forms.

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Architect I.M Pei has a reason to smile. Today (April 26) he celebrates his 99th birthday.

In the 1970’s the Musée du Louvre struggled with declining attendance and opted to make some improvements to modernize the facility. I.M. Pei was commissioned to create the large glass pyramid you see situated in front of the museum today. The pyramid marks the location of the main entrance to the museum and is also flanked by three smaller glass pyramids. Inaugurated in 1989, I.M. Pei’s Pyramid was originally designed to receive 4.5 million visitors and has become a Parisian landmark. Twenty years later, annual museum attendance has nearly reached the 10 million mark. In late June 2014, the Musée du Louvre embarked on what would be its biggest construction project in the coming few years to accoodate the growing attendance. A good problem to have, but one I am sure they never envisioned.

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Architect I.M. Pei and the model for his proposed glass pyramids.

The two pictures below were taken by me in 1993 on a trip to Paris when I turned 21. I am amazed at how photography has advanced over the years…as well as my photography skills!

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Another project designed by I.M. Pei is the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. The picture below was taken in 1973 and shows members of the Kennedy family (Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Edward M. Kennedy, and Caroline Kennedy) looking at one of the proposed models for the future Presidential Library designed by I.M. Pei. (Image via the Boston Globe)

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This is the main entrance to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. It was dedicated in 1979.

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These last two pictures were taken by me during two separate trips to the Library, most recently in Fall 2015. The Library features a large glass atrium that overlooks the harbor. It is a focal point of the space and is a great gathering place for events. The play of light and shadow in this space is amazing and changes throughout the day.

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It’s late in the day but better late than never…Happy Birthday, I.M. Pei…all the best to you!

Contents of the Kennedy “Winter Whitehouse” to be Auctioned

It just might be the sale of the year.

2016, that is.

On January 23, 2016, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will host an auction of Kennedy furnishings and belongings.  The contents belonged to the Palm Beach, Florida estate officially known as “La Guerida” — bounty of war, which was affectionately nicknamed the Kennedy “Winter White House”.

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The cover (shown above) of the auction catalogue house is already listed on the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers website. But  it is reported that the catalog will not be made public until about a month before the auction takes place. If you’re allured by the Kennedy mystique, then this sale will be something worth keeping an eye on.

Items to be included in the auction.

In 1995 the Kennedy family sold the 15,000 square foot estate, complete with its contents to John K. and Marianne Castle.  You can read about the sale here.  The Castles lovingly restored the estate over several years and preserved some of the rooms with its original contents.  The Castles sold the estate this summer with a condition that they be able to maintain its contents. They have since decided to auction them off.  Not a bad business move.

Here is a round up of pictures featuring the lovely estate then and now. 
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For more history on the Kennedy Winter White House, take a look at THIS post. 

Sources: Palm Beach Daily News, Statesman, Veranda Magazine (online) & Curbed.Com, LeslieHindman.Com.