• LOCATION 59 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Left into le Bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau

    Make another left at the T intersection ahead. As you walk, I'll finish off Fouquet with an epilogue...

    Louis XIV took away nearly everything Fouquet had, both material and intellectual:

    Fouquet's landscape artist, Le Nôtre went to work exclusively for the king. All of the orange trees which fill the Orange Grove, and thousands of others which were all transplanted here, left Vaux le Vicomte bare of vegetation.

    Fouquet's painter, Le Brun, became the court painter, and often dictated what the sculptors should make for the gardens of Versailles. All of the statues in the Wood of the Sconce were acquired, appropriating the theme and lessons of Greek mythology. Countless precious objects from Fouquet's collection were raided to decorate the king's dwelling and the Louvre, while the halls of Vaux le Vicomte were laid bare.

    Fouquet's architect, Le Vau, came to work exclusively on the grand renovation which would become the Palace of Versailles.

    Even Fouquet's entourage of artists, Molière, Perrault, de la Fontaine, Corneille and others, now instead plied their trade for the court of Louis XIV.

    When you see a group of golden children on your right, wait there while I continue.

    Even though he was extremely well-connected, there was very little resistance to Fouquet's incarceration. Everybody knew what Fouquet had forgotten: France at this time was an absolute monarchy. The king, ordained by God to rule, could do exactly as he wanted, with whomever he wanted.

    The king could bankrupt his country to spend endlessly on a monument to his glory. For Fouquet to do something similar was, well, gauche, and not to be tolerated. Although Fouquet was far from a man of the people, his treatment was a bitter lesson to the French, sewing the seeds of Revolution a century later.

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Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens