An open public lecture in honor of the 20th anniversary of the HSE - St. Petersburg of Alexandre de Vogüé, co-owner of the Château de Vaux le Vicomte, the largest privately owned “historic monument” in France and one of the most visited attractions in the vicinity of Paris.
On the evening of December 4, Alexandre de Vogue delivered a talk on how to present and maintain heritage in the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, which focused on financial questions and issues of attracting more people and giving them unique experience, meanwhile making enough money to restore the chateau and sustain the high level of events. The report is prepared by Linda Kvitkina, the 2nd year student, Master's Programme "Applied and Interdisciplinary History "Usable Pasts"".
"Everyone knows Versailles, nobody knows Vaux-le-Vicomte". Chateau de Versailles is indeed massively famous with all the associations with Marie Antoinette and luxury going overboard. However, Alexandre de Vogue told us that Vaux-le-Vicomte was the first chateau of a kind, and the king even invited the same team of architect, painter and landscape designer to make Versailles. The team itself is quite interesting, as they had no deliberate separation of roles and many things were invented as a result of dined work of the three. The first owner of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Nicolas Fouquet, gave the artists "everything an artist want: a lot of money and full freedom, and there were only two conditions: the house should be the most beautiful and innovative." And this is exactly what happened.
The Chateau is currently owned and run by the family of Alexandre Vogue, he, as one of the three brothers, acting in spheres designated by their father, is responsible for financing and for handling the collection, as Nicolas Fouquet was a great friend of artists and a passionate collector. Naturally, the talk mostly focused on the issue of finding sponsors and financing to sustain the proper appearance of the Chateau. In other words, how to make enough money to do all the needed restoration and organize events on a good level.
It is not as easy as it might seem, because restoration works are always underway and it has to be calculated, which object or room to restore first, and how. Right now the books in the library are being listed and systemized and books are being restored. By the way, it is done in partnership with one of the schools, so that students there get an internship, and the Chateau gets a catalogue of all the books in the library and better conditions of objects there.
The Chateau has to offer something unique to survive in the cultural market, and Vaux-le-Vicomte offers unique Grand Siecle experience, candlelit evenings, and celebrations of Christmas and Easter. As the Chateau is run by a family, most of the events are designed with a family in mind. As Alexandre de Vogue said while answering one of the questions, "We hope that parents will visit us with a child, and will rent a costume for their five-year-old daughter, she will be dancing in this dress in a big ballroom and feel like a true princess. We hope that she will remember it and will come back twenty years later. This is our goal."