Less familiar and less crowded than Versailles—but designed by the same architects—Vaux le Vicomte can now be seen as never before.
Alexandre de Vogüé and his brothers didn’t think much about growing up at Vaux le Vicomte, the 17th-century estate about an hour southeast of Paris. “All our friends had small gardens, and we had a bigger garden,” he says of the magnificent grounds, designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre. At night, the siblings would play cat-and-mouse in the château and listen to ghost stories about its first owner, Nicolas Fouquet. That visionary patron united the talents of Le Nôtre, painter Charles Le Brun, and architect Louis Le Vau, to create one of the glories of the Grand Siècle.
Two years ago, Alexandre and his twin brother, Jean-Charles, took stewardship of the estate. This spring, visitors can enjoy their first major renovation: the installation of six giant, arched glass doors that restore the château’s transparency and vistas. Vogüé says, “Today, when you are in the grand salon, looking out, you almost dive into the garden.”