Saturday, April 20, 2019

A to Z Bonrepos-Riquet: Pierre-Paul Riquet and His Legacy


A to Z Challenge Here
My introduction to Pierre-Paul Riquet was when I rode along the Canal du Midi, but I didn’t know then that he was the creator and builder of said Canal. My parents-in-law are the ones I really credit with introducing me to Riquet. They volunteer at his chateau, now called Bonrepos-Riquet, which had been let to fall into almost a ruin before it was put on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
My PIL took my husband and me to the chateau one weekend when volunteers were there to help clean up, restore, and generally maintain the grounds and the chateau itself. A Bank donated to fix the top of one tower, meanwhile the town of Bonrepos-Riquet tries to keep the Chateau maintained and is continually in search of sponsors. There is so much work needed to bring the chateau back up to par. Once it is done, it will be a showcase of beauty and architecture. Three stories high, it dominates the grounds, which are extensive.
The "back" of the Chateau
The "Front" of the Chateau

Showing the "moat" around the Chateau with entrance bridge on the back side
The forest side. The forest is to the right

The front entrance bridge
Pierre-Paul Riquet (1604/9 to 1680) chose the spot because the land was suited to run the experiments he needed in order to make sure his future creation, the canal, would work. It paid off because the canal was built and is working till this day. Sadly, he died just months before its completion.
Statue Pierre-Paul Riquet near Revel France. Unique, it gives us Riquet's adventuresome side

An image from inside the Chateau of Pierre-Paul Riquet
My ever-reaching imagination enjoyed not only working the grounds (we worked on clean up in the forest the day we were there), but also exploring the chateau inside and out.
Look at the size of the trunk in the background!

The fireplace in the original kitchen

One of the smaller staircases

Looking from the kitchen hall into the main entrance hall

Upstairs the oval window from inside. It overlooks the back grounds of the Chateau
The Orangerie has been restored and is rented out for wedding receptions, group meetings and other activities. The grounds are used for festivals and even rock concerts. The township hopes that one day the restoration will rival that of Le Chateau Laréole. Saying we had lunch déjeuner in the Orangerie is a huge understatement. We had a meal, a repast, a feast, thanks to someone who brought wild boar steaks that were marinated, then cooked on an open fire. First, we had an “apéro” meaning an “apéritif” a before-meal appetizer with drinks. Then the main meal, then cheese, then dessert. We all brought our own plates, cutlery, and glasses. We all helped set up and clean up. It was one of those moments I will always treasure; a moment in French life but could have been anywhere because community is community all over the world. Anyone can donate to the cause of restoring the Chateau, so if you are inclined... please follow the links in this post. I'm sure there is one with information on how you can help.

 An un-restored part attached to the Orangerie making lunch
Orangerie before restoration

After restoration. The Orangerie, where receptions, etc., are held...
and where we had our gueuleton!(slang for stuffing our faces!)


Wild boar cutlets ready for the fire

Flipping the cutlets

Bon Appetit!




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