Melun Travel Guide

  • Vaux le Vicomte
    Vaux le Vicomte
    by Dabs
  • Vaux le Vicomte
    Vaux le Vicomte
    by Dabs
  • Vaux le Vicomte
    Vaux le Vicomte
    by Dabs

Melun Things to Do

  • Vaux le Vicomte-history of the chateau

    Vaux le Vicomte was the home of Nicolas Fouquet, that is until the nefarious machinations of Colbert who whispered into the ear of King Louis XIV that Fouquet was guilty of theft to cover up his complicity in the accumulation of wealth amassed, mostly by unscurpulous means, by Cardinal Mazarin to whom he served as a personal servent. After...

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  • Vaux le Vicomte-carriage house

    The 1st stop on your tour will likely be the carriage house which has a display of 18th and 19th century horse drawn carriages in the old stables. The carriage house is included with any ticket to the grounds or to the chateau.

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  • Vaux le Vicomte-visiting the chateau

    We arrived at Vaux le Vicomte shortly before it opened on a Wednesday morning and we practically had the chateau to ourselves and during the visit we only saw a handful of people. We opted for the complete visit for 16€ which includes the chateau, the gardens and the carriage museum, the simple visit for 14€ did not include the private apartments...

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  • Vaux le Vicomte-the gardens

    After visiting the chateau, we spent a bit of time wandering around in the gardens, French formal gardens designed by André Le Nôtre, the landscape designer for Fontainebleau and Versailles. The gardens here are noted as the 1st formal French garden and the 1st major project for Le Nôtre.Most of the gardens are walkable, however, you can rent an...

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  • Go to Vaux

    “Aussi doux pue sévère, aussi puissant pue juste.” (“Just as gentle as he is stern, just as powerful as he is fair.”)Sung by an actress, in honour of Louis XIV, at Fouquet’s fête at Vaux-le-Vicomte, 17.August.1661There was something about Vaux-le-Vicomte that captured my imagination. Maybe it was the precedent-setting level of artistic excellence...

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte: The Grand Salon (7)

    This large room is unique in French chateau architecture. Note its great height and the use of mirrors. It is obvious that Louis XIV was impressed. Since Versailles was too large and long for such an unifying architectural ploy, they came up with the immense Hall of Mirrors to satisfy him. The Louis XIV style of furniture and decoration also arose...

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte: The Hercules Room (5)

    We were beginners when we visited. We did not know that a close personal association existed between Le Vau, Lebrun, Le Notre, La Fontaine and Fouquet or that Fouquet was in such a rush to build that he assembled 10,000 workmen and artisans for his project. Or that he set up a tapestry manufactury in Maincy 3 km to the south for LeBrun's cartoons....

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte:LeBrun Aplenty & Later...

    LeBrun showed his talents to be the equal of his compatriots in his interior creations, especially seen in the rooms that are intact. The ceiling in Madame Fouquet's closet has an example of his ceiling painting, seen best with binoculars.( There are several ceilings to enjoy, the equal of Versailles). The sky in this one has been redone but the...

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte: The Interior (4)

    While the room arrangement was part of the LeVau achievement, the interior decoration and ceiling paintings was entirely the work of LeBrun, who lived and entertained in the partly finished chateau as did La Fontaine ( a friend of the group). Our traversal of the rooms long ago was a guided tour in French, while fortunately today it is independent...

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte: Views Looking Back at...

    From below the lower pool the water areas in the second level are not visible and the vista is of a landscape in tiers. The waters become dominant in the walk through the middle level with the round pool at the head most prominent. From the pool the upper level and parterres are traversed and their the decorations come to the fore. Ahead a long...

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  • Vaux-le-Vicomte: Walk Down the Gardens...

    The idea behind Le Notre's French formal garden (this is the first of this type and also his first) is to lead the eye of the viewers as they are walking, disclosing new vistas on all sides with new objects of interest coming into view both close and distant (is this where the idea of the flaneur began?). Do not forget to look back! Use is made of...

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  • Visit Chateau Vaux-le-Comte (1)

    In its way the Chateau is, we think, a finer architectural attraction than Versailles. The North entrance is closed by a wrought iron pillared fence,, the figures resembling telamons (by Lespagnandel). The front gates are not used today. This closed courtyard is faced laterally by outbuildings. Next to the one on west (the stables where there is a...

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  • Crepes in Melun

    on our 1st night in Melun we headed back into town from our hotel on the edge of town and found La Creperie on a quiet street in town. There was an outdoor sitting area but it was a little chilly to be outdoors so we ate inside in the small dining room I had a savory crepe that was made out of buckwheat flour and a dessert crepe, both were OK but...

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  • Takeaway pizza

    After our 1st two ideas for dinner didn't pan out, we were headed towards a Domino's Pizza that we saw earlier in the day in Melun when we spotted Planet Pizza so we decided to stop there instead and try a local pizza place. It's take out only, the pizzas come out really quickly, and we just took them back to our hotel to eat. In the front window...

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  • Meeting Place for Meat

    We parked down by the Seine and walked to the city square seeking a place for Sunday night dinner. The places around the square looked like they were full of inmates from Melun Prison so we took a side street to find the Bistrot du Boucher.The first impressions are very important. We were certainly impressed by the red carpet and cafe curtains and...

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Melun Transportation

  • hquittner's Profile Photo
    Parking at Vaux-le-Vicomte

    by hquittner Updated Aug 13, 2008

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    First, if you are using a car to get around the Ile-de-France and beyond, there is ample parking across from the Chateau (roads N56 and D2i5 for the 6km northeast from Melun). For trips from Paris, it now easy. The leg from the Melun station to and from the Chateau is now limitedly possible by a shuttle which runs only on Saturdays,Sundays and national holidays. See the Chateau's website (listed on our Things to Do Tip.This is a new innovation, better by far than finding a taxi or walking 6 km each way. Also there are now two train options: 1) SCNF trains (from Gare de Lyon) Transilien Paris-Lyon to station Melun-Avon. 2) RER Ligne D2 from and to the same places, although there are connections to the Gare de Lyon. The SCNF trains take from 24-27 minutes and the RER 48-51 or longer after midnight.(You should consult the website or someone who knows more). I am not experienced in suburban parisian trains but I have taken RER trains in wrong directions and have boarded wrong D trains, or bought insufficient zone tickets in the past. (This is another reason we like to stay outside of Paris, rent a car, and enjoy the real France. There is also a round trip from Parisvision.com that includes both Vaux and Fontainbleau with lots of time and includes both admissions and audioguides (40Euro) but only Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from Paris center.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors

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Melun Local Customs

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    The Fouquet squirrel

    by Dabs Updated Nov 8, 2011

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    The Fouquet family's coat of arms features a squirrel and the motto "Quo non ascendet?" ("How far could it climb?"). You can find the squirrel in the decorations at Vaux le Vicomte. Foucquet means squirrel in the dialect of Angers, an area in the west part of France.

    Kings and wealthy families usually select for their emblems ferocious animals-lions, bears, dragons, birds of prey. But the French? Francois I had a salamander, Louis XII had a porcupine and the Fouquets had the squirrel, perhaps the squirrels bred in the US are of inferior stock but when I think of squirrels I think of the suicidal rodents that constantly run into the street, pause, start running the other way, pause and then run right underneath my tires just in time for me to squish them.

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