In 1641, the 26-year old parliamentarian Nicholas Fouquet purchased the manor of Vaux-le-Vicomte and its small castle. Twenty years later, in 1661, Fouquet had transformed the estate with the help of Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and André Le Notre. The result of this fraternal union was a work of unparalleled harmony and beauty.
Victim of a plot by jealous courtiers, Fouquet was arrested on King Louis XIV’s orders and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1661. Vaux-le-Vicomte was closed down, and its treasures seized – tapestries, furniture, paintings, books and rugs… even the orange trees were removed by the King. It took Madame Fouquet ten years to recover the estate, to which she later retired with her eldest son. Following his death, she sold Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1705.