Vaux le Vicomte is located about 30 miles south/southeast of Paris near Melun. It was built between 1658 and 1661 for the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, Nicolas Fouquet. Before Fouquet purchased it in 1657, it was a small castle.
The chateau was a collaboration between architecture, interior design and landscape design that was the beginning of the Louis XIV style. Fouquet commissioned Louis Le Vau as the architect, Charles Le Brun as the painter-decorator and André Le Nôtre as the landscape architect. The three of them also worked on The Louvre Palace and Versailles.
The castle was so lavish, that shortly after throwing a party to honor the king on August 17, 1661, Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life for the misappropriation of public funds. His wife was exiled and King Louis XIV seized and confiscated tapestries, statues and orange trees. Ten years later Fouquet’s wife returned and lived their with her son until 1705 when Fouquet and his son died and she put the castle up for sale.
You can take an independent tour, audio tour or a guided tour, then walk through the gardens after the tour. If you are in Paris and have time for a little excursion, I recommend visiting the stunning Vaux le Vicomte.