He was the man whose lifestyle landed him in jail. Nicolas Fouquet made a colossal fortune as Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finances, then made the colossal mistake of setting himself up in opulence to rival the king himself. His largest affront was to commission a huge château at Vaux-le-Vicomte, a breathtaking masterpiece by the dream team of Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun, beautifully illustrated in panorama and close-up by this gorgeous book. Great house, bad move: Louis had Fouquet arrested as soon as work was finished, and he ended his life behind bars.
Vaux-le-Vicomte: A Private Invitation (Guillaume Picon, Flammarion, 2021, ISBN 9782081513525, 304pp, £65)
This book review was published in the November 2021 issue of France magazine.
The photo at the top of this post is © CRT IDF/Tripelon-Jarry.