Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris; the palace is now a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, the royal apartments. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored. In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower; the site of the Palace was first occupied by a small village and church, surrounded by forests filled with abundant game. It was owned by the priory of Saint Julian. King Henry IV went hunting there in 1589, returned in 1604 and 1609, staying in the village inn.
His son, the future Louis XIII, came on his own hunting trip there in 1607. After he became King in 1610, Louis XIII returned to the village, bought some land, in 1623-24 built a modest two-story hunting lodge on the site of the current marble courtyard, he was staying there in November 1630 during the event known as the Day of the Dupes, when the enemies of the King's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, aided by the King's mother, Marie de' Medici, tried to take over the government. The King sent his mother into exile. After this event, Louis XIII decided to make his hunting lodge at Versailles into a château; the King purchased the surrounding territory from the Gondi family, in 1631–1634 had the architect Philibert Le Roy replace the hunting lodge with a château of brick and stone with classical pilasters in the doric style and high slate-covered roofs, surrounding the courtyard of the original hunting lodge. The gardens and park were enlarged, laid out by Jacques Boyceau and his nephew, Jacques de Menours, reached the size they have today.
Louis XIV first visited the château on a hunting trip in 1651 at the age of twelve, but returned only until his marriage to Maria Theresa of Spain in 1660 and the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, after which he acquired a passion for the site. He decided to rebuild and enlarge the château and to transform it into a setting for both rest and for elaborate entertainments on a grand scale; the first phase of the expansion was supervised by the architect Louis Le Vau. He added two wings to the forecourt, one for servants quarters and kitchens, the other for stables. In 1668 he added three new wings built of stone, known as the envelope, to the north and west of the original château; these buildings had nearly-flat roofs covered with lead. The king commissioned the landscape designer André Le Nôtre to create the most magnificent gardens in Europe, embellished with fountains, basins, geometric flower beds and groves of trees, he added two grottos in the Italian style and an immense orangerie to house fruit trees, as well as a zoo with a central pavilion for exotic animals.
After Le Vau's death in 1670, the work was taken over and completed by his assistant François d'Orbay. The main floor of the new palace contained two symmetrical sets of apartments, one for the king and the other for the queen, looking over the gardens; the two apartments were separated by a marble terrace, overlooking the garden, with a fountain in the center. Each set of apartments was connected to the ground floor with a ceremonial stairway, each had seven rooms, aligned in a row. On the ground floor under the King's apartment was another apartment, the same size, designed for his private life, decorated on the theme of Apollo, the Sun god, his personal emblem. Under the Queen's apartment was the apartment of the Grand Dauphin, the heir to the throne; the interior decoration was assigned to Charles Le Brun. Le Brun supervised the work of a large group of sculptors and painters, called the Petite Academie, who crafted and painted the ornate walls and ceilings. Le Brun supervised the design and installation of countless statues in the gardens.
The grand stairway to the King's apartment was soon redecorated as soon as it was completed with plaques of colored marble and trophies of arms and balconies, so the members of the court could observe the processions of the King. In 1670, Le Vau added a new pavilion northwest of the chateau, called the Trianon, for the King's relaxation in the hot summers, it was surrounded by flowerbeds and decorated with blue and white porcelain, in imitation of the Chinese style. The King spent his days in Versailles, the government and courtiers, numbering six to seven thousand persons, crowded into the buildings; the King ordered a further enlargement, which he entrusted to the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Hadouin-Mansart added two large new wings on either side of the original Cour Royale, he replaced Le Vau's large terrace, facing the garden on the west, with what bec
François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois
François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois was the French Secretary of State for War for a significant part of the reign of Louis XIV. Louvois and his father, Michel le Tellier, would increase the French Army to 400,000 soldiers, an army that would fight four wars between 1667 and 1713, he is referred to as "Louvois". Louvois was born in Paris on 18 January 1641, to Michel Le Tellier, Élisabeth Turpin. Louvois received instructions from his father in the management of state affairs; the young man won the king's confidence, in 1666 he succeeded his father as war minister. His talents were perceived by Turenne in the War of Devolution, who gave him instruction in the art of providing armies. After the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, Louvois devoted himself to organising the French army; the years between 1668 and 1672, says Camille Rousset, "were years of preparation, when Lionne was labouring with all his might to find allies, Colbert to find money, Louvois soldiers for Louis". The Man in the Iron Mask, whose name was given as Eustache Dauger, is first mentioned in a letter written by Louvois, dated 19 July 1669.
The work of Louvois in these years is bound up with the historical development of the French army and of armies in general. Here need only be mentioned Louvois's reorganization of the military orders of merit, his foundation of the Hôtel des Invalides, the forcible enrollment of the nobility and gentry of France, in which Louvois carried out part of Louis's measures for curbing the spirit of independence by service in the army or at court; the success of his measures is to be seen in the victories of the Franco-Dutch War of 1672–78. After the Peace of Nijmegen Louvois was high in favour, his father had been made chancellor, the influence of Colbert was waning; the ten years of peace between 1678 and 1688 were distinguished in French history by the rise of Madame de Maintenon, the capture of Strasbourg and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in all of which Louvois bore a prominent part. The surprise of Strasbourg in 1681 in time of peace was not only planned but executed by Louvois and Monclar.
A saving clause in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which provided for some liberty of conscience, if not of worship, Louvois annulled with the phrase "Sa majesté veut qu'on fasse sentir les dernières rigueurs a ceux qui ne voudront pas se faire de sa religion". He claimed the credit of inventing the dragonnades, mitigated the depredations of the soldiery only insofar as the licence accorded was prejudicial to discipline. Discipline and complete subjection to the royal authority was the political faith of Louvois. Colbert died in 1683, had been replaced by Le Pelletier, an adherent of Louvois, in the controller-generalship of finances, by Louvois himself in his ministry for public buildings, which he took that he might be the minister able to gratify the king's two favourite pastimes and building. Louvois was able to superintend the successes of the first years of the war of the League of Augsburg and in 1688 initiated the collection of Plans-Reliefs of French strongholds, now the Musée des Plans-Reliefs.
However, he died of apoplexy after leaving the king's cabinet on 16 July 1691, but Voltaire claims in "Le Siecle de Louis XIV" that Louvois died while he was taking waters in Balaruc. His sudden death caused a suspicion of poison. Louvois was one of the greatest of the rare class of great war ministers. French history can only point to Carnot as his equal. Both had to organize armies out of old material on a new system, both were admirable contrivers of campaigns, both devoted themselves to the material well-being of the soldiers. In private life and in the means employed for gaining his ends, Louvois was unscrupulous and shameless. Louvois, through a marriage arranged by his father, wed an heiress, Anne de Souvré, Marquise de Courtenvaux, he had six children with Anne: Michael François, Marquis of Courtanvaux, who married the daughter of Jean II d'Estrées Madeleine Charlotte, who married François de La Rochefoucauld VIII, Duc de La Roche-Guyon Louis-Nicolas, Marquis de Souvré Louis François Marie, Marquis Barbezieux Camille de Louvois Margaret, married Louis Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy, Marquis of Alincourt French government ministers List of Finance Ministers of France Fort Louvois Fleury, H, La Chronique de Champagne, publ. sous la direction de H. Fleury et L. Paris, p. 305, retrieved 12 January 2013Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Louvois, François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17. Cambridge University Press. P. 69. Endnotes: The principal authority for Louvois's life and times is Camille Rousset's Histoire de Louvois, a great work founded on the 900 volumes of his despatches at the Depôt de la Guerre. Saint Simon from his class prejudices is hardly to be trusted, but Madame de Sevigne throws many side-lights on his times. Testament politique de Louvois is spurious
The Val-de-Grâce is a military hospital located at 74 boulevard de Port-Royal in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, France. The church of the Val-de-Grâce was built by order of Queen Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII. After the birth of her son Louis XIV, Anne showed her gratitude to the Virgin Mary by building a church on the land of a Benedictine convent. Louis XIV himself is said to have laid the cornerstone for the Val-de-Grâce in a ceremony that took place April 1, 1645, when he was seven years old; the church of the Val-de-Grâce, designed by François Mansart and Jacques Lemercier, is considered by some as Paris's best example of baroque architecture. Construction began in 1645, was completed in 1667; the Benedictine nuns provided medical care for injured revolutionaries during the French Revolution, thus the church at Val-de-Grâce was spared much of the desecration and vandalism that plagued other, more famous Paris churches. As a result, the church's exquisite interior is one of the few unspoiled remnants of Paris's pre-Revolution grandeur.
Following the Revolution, the buildings were converted into a military hospital. The original buildings only serve for offices and teaching facilities; the present-day hospital was built in the 1970s and completed in 1979. It has a capacity of 350 beds, in various specialties; the hospital is accessible to military personnel in need of medical aid as well as to any person with health coverage under the French social security system. It is famous for being the place where the top officials of the French Republic get treated for ailment; the statue standing in the courtyard is that of Dominique Jean Larrey, Napoleon's personal surgeon and innovator of the concept of battlefield triage. The old abbey alongside the church is now a museum of French army medicine. Tours of the museum and church are available for a small fee. Cameras are not permitted except for inside the church itself; the last emperor of Vietnam, Bảo Đại, died at Val-de-Grâce hospital on July 30, 1997, aged 83. Val-de-Grâce was the traditional burial place for members of the House of Orléans, cadet of the House of Bourbon: Mademoiselle de Valois, daughter of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans Louis, Duke of Orléans Margravine Auguste of Baden-Baden, duchesse d'Orléans Louise Marie, daughter of the above who died in childbirth giving birth to Louise Marie Louis Philippe, son of Louis Louise Henriette de Bourbon, wife of the above During World War I, Louis Aragon and André Breton, surrealist artists, were enlisted as physicians-in-training at the hospital.
As a part of the French government's efforts to keep morale up during the war, a museum of reconstructive surgery was built in the hospital. The exhibits consisted of wax sculptures of deformed human faces and the results of reconstructive surgery. A look at the museum reveals that there is no doubt that the exhibits influenced the two artists and the surrealist movement, which deals with themes of dismemberment and disfigurement. French Defence Health service List of hospitals in France Photos of the church interior
Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, Marquise de Montespan
Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise of Montespan, better known as Madame de Montespan, was the most celebrated maîtresse-en-titre of King Louis XIV of France, by whom she had seven children. Born into one of the oldest noble families of France, the House of Rochechouart, Madame de Montespan was called by some the "true Queen of France"' during her romantic relationship with Louis XIV due to the pervasiveness of her influence at court during that time, her so-called "reign" lasted from around 1667, when she first danced with Louis XIV at a ball hosted by the king's younger brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, at the Louvre Palace, until her alleged involvement in the notorious Affaire des Poisons in the late 1670s to 1680s. Her immediate contemporary was mistress of King Charles II of England, she is an ancestress of several royal houses in Europe, including those of Spain, Italy and Portugal. Françoise-Athénaïs was born on 5 October 1640 and baptised the same day at the Château of Lussac-les-Châteaux in today's Vienne department, in the Poitou-Charentes region in France.
Françoise, or more formally, Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente, possessed the blood of two of the oldest noble families of France through her parents, Gabriel de Rochechouart, Duke of Mortemart, Prince of Tonnay-Charente, Diane de Grandseigne, a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Austria, Queen consort of France. From her father, she inherited the famous Mortemart esprit; as a young girl, she travelled with her mother between the family estates and the court at the Louvre in Paris. At the age of 12, she began her formal education at the Convent of St Mary at Saintes, where her sister Gabrielle had started hers a decade earlier, she was religious and took Communion once a week, a practice that she would continue as a young woman. Her siblings were: Gabrielle, who married Claude Léonor Damas de Thianges, Marquis of Thianges and had children. Louis Victor, known as the Marquis of Vivonne, an enfant d'honneur and a friend of Louis XIV of France in his youth. Marie Madeleine Gabrielle Adélaïde, who due to her relationship with Françoise-Athénaïs, was known as the Queen of Abbesses.
At the age of 20, Françoise-Athénaïs became a maid-of-honour to the king's sister-in-law, Princess Henrietta Anne of England, known at court by the traditional honorific of Madame. Because of the relationship between her mother and the queen dowager, Anne of Austria, Françoise-Athénaïs was appointed to be a lady-in-waiting to the king's wife, Maria Theresa of Spain. On 28 January 1663, Françoise-Athénaïs married Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis of Montespan, one year her junior. Madame de La Fayette says in her Histoire de madame Henriette d'Angleterre that Françoise-Athénaïs was in love with another young man, Louis de La Trémoille, the elder son and heir to the Duc de Noirmoutier. However, La Tremouille had to flee to Spain after a disastrous duel, Françoise-Athénaïs was betrothed to Montespan; the wedding ceremony took place in a chapel at the Église Saint-Eustache in Paris. Françoise recounted that as she had neglected to bring along the proper kneeling cushions for the ceremony, the couple had to kneel on dog cushions.
She soon became pregnant with Christine. Two weeks after her daughter's birth she danced in a Court Ballet, less than a year her second child was born; the Montespan children were: Marie Christine de Pardaillan de Gondrin, who died at the Château de Bonnefont, one of her father's castles in Gascony. Louis Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis of Antin. Louis Antoine had a cordial relationship with his younger half-brothers, the Duke of Maine and the Count of Toulouse; the couple lived in a small house close to the Louvre, which allowed Madame de Montespan to attend court and carry out her duties there as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Orléans. She established herself as the "reigning beauty of the court". Beauty, was only one of Madame de Montespan's many charms, she was a cultured and amusing conversationalist, who won the admiration of such literary figures as letter-writer Madame de Sévigné and diarist Saint-Simon. In addition, she kept abreast of political events; this had the effect of making her more appealing to men of intellect and power.
She was courted by a number of suitors including le comte de Marquis de La Fare. Madame de Montespan astounded the court by resenting the position of Queen Maria Theresa of Spain; the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and Elisabeth de France, the Queen's Spanish title, before her marriage, was Infanta María Teresa de Austria. In France, she was known as Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche. A scandal arose when the Duchess of Montausier, governess of the royal children and lady-in-waiting to the Queen, was accused of acting as a go-between in order to secure the governorship of the Dauphin for her husband, the Duke of Montausier. By 1666, Madame de Montespan was trying to take the place of Louis XIV's current mistress, Louise de La Vallière. Using her wit and charm, she sought to ingratiate herself with the king, she became close to the Dauphin, whose affection for her never wavered. Though Louise de La Vallière knew that Montespan was trying to conquer the King's heart, laughed at her miserable efforts, she underestimated her new rival.
Montespan cleverly cultivated friendships with both Louise and Queen Maria Teresa, when both ladies were pregnant, Madame de Montespan was
André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre rendered as André Le Nostre, was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. Most notably, he was the landscape architect who designed the park of the Palace of Versailles, his work represents the height of the French formal garden style, or jardin à la française. Prior to working on Versailles, Le Nôtre collaborated with Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun on the park at Vaux-le-Vicomte, his other works include the design of gardens and parks at Chantilly, Saint-Cloud and Saint-Germain. His contribution to planning was significant: at the Tuileries he extended the westward vista, which became the avenue of the Champs-Élysées and comprise the Axe historique. André Le Nôtre was born into a family of gardeners. Pierre Le Nôtre, in charge of the gardens of the Palais des Tuileries in 1572, may have been his grandfather. André's father Jean Le Nôtre was responsible for sections of the Tuileries gardens under Claude Mollet, as head gardener, during the reign of Louis XIII.
André was born on 12 March 1613, was baptised at the Église Saint-Roch. His godfather at the ceremony was an administrator of the royal gardens, his godmother was the wife of Claude Mollet; the family lived in a house within the Tuilieries, André thus grew up surrounded by gardening, acquired both practical and theoretical knowledge. The location allowed him to study in the nearby Palais du Louvre, part of, used as an academy of the arts, he learned mathematics and architecture, entered the atelier of Simon Vouet, painter to Louis XIII, where he met and befriended the painter Charles Le Brun. He learned classical art and perspective, studied for several years under the architect François Mansart, a friend of Le Brun. In 1635, Le Nôtre was named the principal gardener of duc d'Orléans. On 26 June 1637, Le Nôtre was appointed head gardener at the Tuileries, taking over his father's position, he had primary responsibility for the areas of the garden closest to the palace, including the orangery built by Simon Bouchard.
In 1643 he was appointed "draughtsman of plants and terraces" for Anne of Austria, the queen mother, from 1645 to 1646 he worked on the modernisation of the gardens of the Château de Fontainebleau. He was put in charge of all the royal gardens of France, in 1657 he was further appointed Controller-General of the Royal Buildings. There are few direct references to Le Nôtre in the royal accounts, Le Nôtre himself wrote down his ideas or approach to gardening, he expressed himself purely through his gardens. He became a trusted advisor to Louis XIV, in 1675 he was ennobled by the King, he and Le Brun accompanied the court at the siege of Cambrai in 1677. In 1640, he married Françoise Langlois, they had three children. André Le Nôtre's first major garden design was undertaken for Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's Superintendent of Finances. Fouquet began work on the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in 1657, employing the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun, Le Nôtre; the three designers worked in partnership, with Le Nôtre laying out a grand, symmetrical arrangement of parterres and gravel walks.
Le Vau and Le Nôtre exploited the changing levels across the site, so that the canal is invisible from the house, employed forced perspective to make the grotto appear closer than it is. The gardens were complete by 1661, but only three weeks on 10 September 1661, Fouquet was arrested for embezzling state funds, his artists and craftsmen were taken into the king's service. From 1661, Le Nôtre was working for Louis XIV to build and enhance the garden and parks of the Château de Versailles. Louis extended the existing hunting lodge making it his primary residence and seat of power. Le Nôtre laid out the radiating city plan of Versailles, which included the largest avenue yet seen in Europe, the Avenue de Paris. In the following century, the Versailles design influenced Pierre Charles L'Enfant's master plan for Washington, D. C. See, L'Enfant Plan. In 1661, Le Nôtre was working on the gardens at the Palace of Fontainebleau. In 1663 he was engaged at Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Château de Saint-Cloud, residence of Philippe d'Orléans, where he would oversee works for many years.
From 1663, Le Nôtre was engaged at Château de Chantilly, property of the Prince de Condé, where he worked with his brother-in-law Pierre Desgots until the 1680s. From 1664 he was rebuilding the gardens of the Tuileries, at the behest of Colbert, Louis's chief minister, who still hoped the king would remain in Paris. In 1667 Le Nôtre extended the main axis of the gardens westward, creating the avenue which would become the Champs-Élysées. Colbert commissioned Le Nôtre in 1670, to alter the gardens of his own château de Sceaux, ongoing until 1683. In 1662, he provided designs for Charles II of England. In 1670 Le Nôtre conceived a project for the Castle of Racconigi in Italy, between 1674 and 1698 he remodelled the gardens of Venaria Reale, near Turin. In 1679, he visited Italy, his advice was provided for Charlottenburg Palace and château de Cassel in Germany, with plans for Windsor Castle. Between 1679 and 1691, he was involved in the planning of the gardens of Château de Meudon for François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois.
His work has been favorably compared and contrasted to the œuvre of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, the English landscape architect. André Le Nôtre was playe
Château de Clagny
The Château de Clagny was a French country house that stood northeast of the Château de Versailles. Although among the most important of the private residences designed by this great architect, it was demolished in 1769 after years of neglect, its appearance can only be traced through the engravings made of it, scattered references in the archives of the Bâtiments du Roi. Louis XIV had bought the estate of Clagny from the Hôpital des Incurables of Paris in 1665. On 22 May 1674, Colbert's son submitted to him a plan designed by the young Mansart, who had used his family ties with the great François Mansart of the previous reign to make himself and his talents known at court. By 12 June, work was ordered to begin at once because Madame de Montespan was anxious to start planting the grounds that fall. André Le Nôtre designed the layout of the gardens. In August 1675, Madame de Sévigné visited Clagny, which she described to her daughter: "We have been at Clagny, what shall I tell you about it? It is a palace of Armida.
You know. He has left standing a little dark wood, nice; this novelty is the prettiest, most surprising and ravishing that one could imagine, the little wood is liked."The orangerie, where the "little wood of oranges" wintered at Clagny, was a showpiece itself, paved with marble. In the gardens cabinets de verdure shaped into niches that held sculptures were clipped into the dense woods, fitted with trelliswork dadoes to fill in their sparse bases. In a portrait painted by Henri Gascar, Madame de Montespan had herself painted while reclining on a baroque canopied couch, its curtains held up by carved cupids, with the barrel-vaulted galerie of Clagny visible behind her, as grand a piece of architecture as any to which a sovereign could yet lay claim. About 1680, Adam-Frans van der Meulen painted a landscape view of a promenade en calèche with Louis XIV, Queen Marie-Thérèse, Madame de Montespan, the king's son and his wife, which includes in a single coup d'œil both Versailles and Clagny, showing how the two châteaux were located.
After the Marquise de Montespan was compromised in the notorious Affaire des Poisons, she was abandoned by the king for Mme de Maintenon, the governess of the marquise's children. As a result of her loss of status at court, she visited the house less. In 1685, the king formally made it over to her as a gift for the sake of their eldest natural son, the beloved Duc du Maine. In June 1692, Madame de Montespan retired to a convent. At her death in 1707, the duc du Maine inherited Clagny, followed in time by his grandson, the Prince de Dombes, who as it turned out became the last of his line; the château reverted to the Crown in 1766. By the château, which Madame de Sévigné estimated to have cost not less than two million livres, to have kept 1200 workers occupied, suffered from years of neglect, it was unoccupied for forty years, the dampness of the surrounding environment accelerated its deterioration. The quartier nouveau of the town of Versailles expanded to the edge of the estate of Clagny, nestling in the northern corner between the château and the étang de Clagny, the pond in its park.
In 1736, following an episode of "fièvre paludéenne" malaria, in the quartier Notre-Dame of Versailles, it was decided to drain the pond and fill it in. When the ownership of Clagny reverted to the Crown, Louis XV gave some eleven hectares at the edge of the estate to his religious queen, Maria Leszczyńska, who used the land to establish an Ursuline convent, built from 1767 to 1772 according to the designs of Richard Mique; the château was demolished in 1769. Some of its dressed stone was employed in constructing the nearby new convent and other stone found its way into the hôtels particuliers along the new Boulevard de la Reine, built through the park in 1772; the park was further subdivided under the Second Empire. Philippe Simon, "Le campus de Versailles, propriété Panhard: Évocation au fil du temps..." GardenVisit.com: Clagny Bonnassieux, Louis Jean Pierre, 2002. Le château de Clagny et madame de Montespan: D'après les documents originaux. Histoire d'un quartier de Versailles
François Mansart was a French architect credited with introducing classicism into Baroque architecture of France. The Encyclopædia Britannica cites him as the most accomplished of 17th-century French architects whose works "are renowned for their high degree of refinement and elegance". Mansart, as he is known, made extensive use of a four-sided, double slope gambrel roof punctuated with windows on the steeper lower slope, creating additional habitable space in the garrets that became named after him—the mansard roof. François Mansart was born to a master carpenter in Paris, he was not trained as an architect. He is thought to have learned the skills of architect in the studio of Salomon de Brosse, the most popular architect of Henry IV's reign. Mansart was recognized from the 1620s onward for his style and skill as an architect, but he was viewed as a stubborn and difficult perfectionist, tearing down his structures in order to start building them over again. Only the richest could afford to have him work for them, as Mansart's constructions cost "more money than the Great Turk himself possesses".
The only surviving example of his early work is the Château de Balleroy, commissioned by a chancellor to Gaston, Duke of Orléans, started in 1626. The duke himself was so pleased with the result that he invited Mansart to renovate his Château de Blois; the architect intended to rebuild this former royal residence but his design was stymied and only the north wing was reconstructed to Mansart's design, cleverly using classical orders. In 1632, Mansart designed the Church of St. Mary of the Angels using the Pantheon as an inspiration. Most of Mansart's buildings were subsequently demolished; the best preserved example of his mature style is the Château de Maisons, which uniquely retains the original interior decoration, including a magnificent staircase. The structure is symmetrical, with much attention given to relief, it is thought to have inspired the 18th-century Neoclassicism. In the 1640s, Mansart worked on the convent and church of the Val-de-Grâce in Paris, a much coveted commission from Anne of Austria.
His alleged profligacy led to his being replaced with a more tractable architect, who followed Mansart's design. In the 1650s, Mansart was targeted by political enemies of the prime minister Cardinal Mazarin, for whom Mansart worked. In 1651, they published "La Mansarade", a pamphlet accusing the architect of wild extravagance and machinations. After Louis XIV's accession to the throne, Mansart lost many of his commissions to other architects, his designs for the remodeling of Louvre and for the royal mausoleum at Saint-Denis were never executed, in the case of the Louvre because he would not submit detailed plans. Some of his plans were subsequently reused by Jules Hardouin Mansart. Mansart died in Paris in 1666. Perrault, Charles, "François Mansart", Les hommes illustres qui ont paru en France pendant ce siècle - avec leur portraits au naturel, 1, Paris, pp. 87–88