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Not to be missed: Richelieu’s bedchamber in Brézé

It is not known whether Cardinal Richelieu actually stayed here, but this room was nevertheless ready and waiting for his visit. Recently renovated, it contains a monumental fireplace, period furnishings and a valuable tapestry that partly covers the red walls that reflect the colour of cardinals’ robes.

Decorated in the Renaissance style, Richelieu’s bedchamber was specially designed for the powerful minister to King Louis XIII, who was related to the Brézé family through marriage after his sister was wed to Urbain of Maillé-Brézé. It has preserved its original floor tiles and the monumental Renaissance fireplace decorated with ribbed griffin claws and interlacing, which was often seen on the facades of private apartments. The wardrobe and writing cabinet are from the reign of Louis XV, while the armchairs, table and four-poster bed are from the reign of Louis XIII. It is worth noting that when Louis XVI died the posts on the bed were painted black as a sign of mourning.

The walls are covered with trompe-l’oeil wallpaper that reproduces the scarlet colour of cardinals’ robes and fills the room in a rather unusual atmosphere. One of the walls is adorned with a magnificent tapestry from the “Royal Houses” series which can be found in the Palace of Versailles. This series of twelve tapestries was produced in the Gobelins Manufacture, with each piece depicting a month of the year and a hunting scene, the king going on a walk or a royal residence. This official copy, presented to the Colbert family, depicts the month of June and the king hunting in the Château of Fontainebleau.

Richelieu’s bedchamber was restored by Charles Cicéri at the request of the Marquise of Dreux-Brézé. The trumeau of the fireplace bears the following inscription: “Restored in 1839 by Madame the Marquise Douairière, born Custine, to the satisfaction of her beloved son, the honourable Scipion of Dreux-Brézé, peer of France.
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