A getaway in Richelieu, the cardinal’s city

A getaway in Richelieu, the cardinal’s city A getaway in Richelieu, the cardinal’s city © Mairie de Richelieu

Published on 16/10/2017

In 1630, there was only a modest village on these lands, but that all changed in 1631! Major work was undertaken, to build a city and a castle for the purpose of establishing the power of the principal: Cardinal Richelieu!

One man’s vision

Designed by the Sorbonne architect (Jacques Lemercier), the castle and city of Richelieu were the fruit of a single man’s vision: the renowned, eponymous cardinal. Many materials were however necessary for such a project. That was no problem at all, the surrounding buildings were used! Yet, as often happens, history had a few surprises in store: during the French Revolution, the castle would be destroyed, and its stones scattered for use in other nearby construction projects. Thankfully, the castle’s 475-hectare park was preserved, providing a great opportunity for a stroll!

28 “hôtel particuliers”, including the Puits Doré 

The city of Richelieu escaped the fate of its neighbouring castle. Inside the city walls, 28 "hôtel particuliers" remain. One of these private mansions is now home to what might be your future holiday residence: the Puits Doré, a hotel/restaurantfeaturing 25 recently renovated rooms, equipped with all amenities. Fare at this restaurant with a bright atmosphere includes dishes from the land, sea and river, that are both inventive and elegant, prepared with fresh, seasonal produce. A great place to try!

What to see and do in Richelieu and the surrounding area

Regarding local heritage, be sure not to miss the new “espace Richelieu” where visitors can gain a perfect understanding of the city’s history, in addition to the guided tour of the city and the museum. The splendid Rivau castle gardens are also nearby, be sure to plan a stop there. Visitors will also enjoy exploring the Bois Aubry abbey, the Maillé memorial museum (a village destroyed by German forces in August 1944, when Paris was celebrating its liberation), and the Saint Georges collegiate church.

The city of Chinon is 20 kilometres away, plan to spend at least two days there to take in the royal fortress, the “caves paincts” wine cellars, the Seuilly abbey, the Véron eco-museum and the Rabelais museum.

And last but not least, we would be amiss if we didn’t suggest a few vineyard estates to tour while in Rabelais country (la NoblaieCharles Pain…) as well as "Cabri au Lait", an educational farm. 

Ici, vivre est un art The E.U. supports tourist sites’ Quality approach
The E.U. supports tourist sites’ Quality approach