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The Making of the French Garden

The Gardens of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

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    12:00 p.m. (Chicago) • 1:00 p.m. (Miami) • 7:00 p.m. (Paris)

    • Entrée Libre initiative: Free for students high school, college, university. Please register with your .edu address

    Following the success of our Grands Châteaux Series last winter, Russell Kelley spent the summer visiting the Grands Jardins de France! Our curator extraordinaire returns with a live online series exploring the evolution of the French garden through history, from the Renaissance to the Vertical Garden. Get ready to travel through time and go green!

    The Gardens of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte Between 1641 and 1661, Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finances Nicolas Fouquet built the magnificent Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte 34 miles/55 km southeast of Paris. He hired the architect Louis Le Vau to design the château, the artist Charles Le Brun to decorate it, and the landscape architect André Le Nôtre to design its gardens and park. It was the trio’s first major collaboration and became the model for the French Baroque style, less dependent on Italian influences. The gardens of Vaux represent the pioneering work of the French formal garden, where for the first time Le Nôtre created a garden from scratch as an extension of Le Vau’s château. The garden is celebrated for its perfect symmetry and Le Nôtre’s trademark “long perspective” defined by a central axis that disappears into the distance. Inspired by the grandeur of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Louis XIV soon retained the team of Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre to build the château and gardens of Versailles.

    Speaker: Alexandre de Vogüé and his two brothers are the fifth generation of their family since 1875 to own the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Alexandre spent his childhood at Vaux, went to university in Paris, and then spent the next 20 years in Chamonix and traveling the world as a professional mountain guide. In 2011 he returned to Vaux, where he is now Director of Development and President of the French and International Friends of Vaux-le-Vicomte Conservancy. Alexandre is also responsible for Vaux’s art collection. He and his brothers are co-authors of A Day at Vaux-le-Vicomte (Les Éditions Flammarion, 2015). A new book about the domain, Vaux-le-Vicomte – Private Invitation, by Guillaume Picon, was published by Les Éditions Flammarion in October 2021. Alexandre gave the lecture about the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in last year’s Châteaux Series.

    Russell Kelley is the curator and moderator of this lecture series and was the curator of last winter’s series on the “Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Île de France.” He is the author of The Making of Paris: The Story of How Paris Evolved from a Fishing Village into the World’s Most Beautiful City (Lyons Press, 2021), and has lived in Paris for 30 years.

    Support and Save! Become an Alliance Française member for as little as $85 a year for a Library + Culture membership.

    This program is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française Miami Metro with communication support from the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA, the French Heritage Society, the Historic Gardens Foundation, WICE, and The Garden Conservancy.

    Through our Entrée Libre initiative, free admission to this program is offered to students enrolled in French Studies in universities and French schools in Chicago and the Midwest.

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