The grandiose Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle (Château de Vaux-de-Vicomte) is one of France’s most impressive architectural landmarks. Designed by the same architects behind the Palace of Versailles, it’s a Baroque masterpiece surrounded by manicured French gardens, decorative moats, and traditional drawbridges.
When visiting Vaux-le-Vicomte you can explore inside Nicolas Fouquet’s extravagant palace, where highlights include the King’s Room, Grand Salon, and the basement kitchens. Then take in the view from the Dome, stroll through the formal gardens, and visit the carriage museum. It’s possible to visit independently on an audio-guided tour, take a group or private tour from Paris, or even combine a Vaux-le-Vicomte tour with a visit to nearby attractions like Château Fontainebleau.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Plan at least three hours to visit the palace and gardens.
- Visitor facilities include gift shops, a bar, restaurants, picnic areas, and free parking.
- Audio guides are available in nine languages.
- The ground floor of the palace and the gardens are accessible to wheelchair users, and electric golf carts are also available for rent. Strollers are not allowed inside the palace.
How to Get There
Vaux-le-Vicomte is just 34 miles (55 kilometers) southeast of Paris, around a 1-hour drive. To arrive by public transportation, take the train to Provins from Paris’ Gare de l’Est and get off at Verneuil l’Etang train station, from where the Châteaubus shuttle runs to the château. Alternatively, catch the train from Paris’ Gare de Lyon station to Melun station, from where it’s a short taxi ride.
When to Get There
The palace is open to the public daily from mid-March to the start of November. The busiest time is during July and August, when an early morning tour offers the best chance of avoiding the crowds. Alternatively, the most atmospheric time to visit is during the Candlelight Visits, held on Friday and Saturday nights from May to October, when the estate is illuminated with over 2,000 candles, live classical music is played in the garden, and champagne is served.
Architectural Highlights of Vaux-le-Vicomte
Built for aristocrat Nicolas Fouquet during the reign of King Louis XIV, Vaux-le-Vicomte is a remarkable example of 17th-century French Baroque style. The brainchild of architect Louis Le Vau, landscaper André le Nôtre, and designer Charles Le Brun, it’s known for its striking facade, dramatic dome, and lavishly decorated interiors, complete with gilded walls, statues, tapestries, and the era’s finest furnishings. The gardens are equally stunning, with fountains, canals, and stone curbs that create an optical illusion depending on your viewpoint. In fact, the estate is so extravagant, it’s thought to be part of the reason that Fouquet was eventually accused of embezzling state funds and the king imprisoned him until his death.