Skip to content
ArabicChinese (Simplified)DutchEnglishFrenchGermanGreekHindiItalianJapanesePortugueseRussianSpanish

Centre Val De Loire

Richelieu - Utopian city - Indre-et-Loire

This page was updated on: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at: 3:37 pm

The utopian city of Richelieu

Richelieu is located slightly off the Loire Valley and 10mn south of Chinon and Château du Rivau.

The walled city was purposely built on a rectangular grid plan oriented north-south/east-west and is encompassed within ornamental moats.

Richelieu is the 'dream city' Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu created in the 1630s!

King Louis XIII rewarded his prime minister for his great services by allowing him to buy the village of his ancestors, the village were he was born.

The Cardinal entrusted the king's architect Jacques Lemercier with the creation of his dream city.

He also levied city taxes in order to attract settlers.

A unique example of 17 century urbanization

The City of Richelieu is a unique example of 17th century urbanization, and its beauty comes from its regularity and symmetry.

The 700m x 500m city is fortified, surrounded by ornamental moats and is accessed through three monumental doors.

The fourth door is fake, but was erected in order to conform to symmetry.

Lemercier built a castle for Richelieu. next to his childhood's home in the center of the city.

The castle was, however,  sold, dismantled and redeveloped after the French Revolution.

All that is left are a few vestiges and outbuildings, however, the walled gardens were converted into a public garden.

The city is laid out around Place Royale and Place du Cardinal.

Grande Rue, the main street, leads to the lively Place Royale.

The square indeed boasts a beautiful covered market or halle, a church and the former Palace of Justice.

The latter today accommodates the Mayor's office, and La Halle accommodates the market twice a week.

One of the castle remaining outbuildings was converted in a museum, and exhibits various artifacts recovered in the region.

The Tourist office is very helpful and can advice you in finding local activities for the whole family, as Richelieu boasts many restaurants, quaint shops and hotels.

It is well worth a detour and is a perfect destination for a couple of hours visit when touring the Loire Valley.

Department of Indre-et-Loire
Coordinates: Lat 47.012705 - Long 0.324016

Credits: Photos Courtesy of the city of Richelieu - Source text: Chateau du Rivau edited by and for Travel France Online -  Photo Wikimedia Commons: Parc  by Gwenlune is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 - header by Manfred Heyde is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Loire Valley - Gabare

Loire Valley, the Royal Valley

The Loire Valley is also known as the Royal Valley because of the many chateaux the kings of the French Renaissance and their vassals built along the river
Aerial photo of the Chateau de Chinon

Chateau de Chinon – Loire Valley – History

Chateau de Chinon, restored ruins of the fortress built by Henry II of England where Joan of Arc came to serve King Charles VII during the Hundred years War
Cycling along the Loire River

Cycling along the Loire River

The best cycling routes along the Loire River, a series of trails that follow the river from its spring in Auvergne downwards to its mouth in the Atlantic
Chateau de Villandry and gardens

Villandry Renaissance Chateau – Gardens

The Renaissance Chateau and gardens of Villandry in the Loire Valley, fully restored by Joachim Carvallo, and today registered as UNESCO's World Heritage

Sign up to our newsletter

Travel France Online will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates via our newsletter. By selecting the boxes on the form you confirm your acceptance to receive our newsletter.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at admin@travelfranceonline.com

We will treat your information with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy page