We all have our very own Christmas traditions. In France, ours typically start at the end of November as we embrace the season quite early in our family. It is a way for us to get in the Christmas spirit and it is also a nice opportunity to get inspired wherever we can. So, every year, we drive to Vaux-le-Vicomte, one of the grandest and most beautiful private castles in France.
Built in the 17th century, it was purchased by Nicolas Fouquet, a wealthy politician who beautifully transformed the castle (the gardens were created by the famous landscape gardener, André Le Nôtre). Unfortunately, Fouquet was unable to enjoy his castle until the end of his life. He was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment by King Louis XIV who was jealous of a magnificent party Fouquet had thrown at Vaux-le-Vicomte… As you may imagine, this is the short version of a long story. But, if you love history Vaux-le-Vicomte is worth visiting all year long.
Not only is the castle magnificent itself, it is especially enchanting to visit in December when it has been decorated for Christmas. As you visit the rooms and bedrooms, warmed by the fires lit in every fireplace, you can see different Christmas themes beautifully displayed. This year the most stunning rooms are Wild Forest Tartan, Teddy Bears & their Books and the Christmas table with Villeroy & Bosch tableware. The Frosted Christmas theme is quite impressive too not to mention the huge balloon in the main hall!
Vaux-le-Vicomte is a great source of inspiration and as I’ve said above, it really puts you in the mood for Christmas. We love having lunch in the former stables by the fire and relaxing in this cosy place (now a restaurant and coffee shop) a little before visiting the rest of the castle and the gardens. But, you can also just have a cup of coffee or tea there if you prefer.
The children can dress up with beautiful 17th century costumes as they visit the castle, which is a ton of fun for them! I highly recommend visiting Vaux-le-Vicomte at this time of year as there are not many castles that decorate for Christmas around Paris and to truly enjoy this enchanting experience.