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Posts Tagged ‘Annecy’

The Three Musketeers: All for one, and one for all!

September 23, 2011 3:46 pm
posted by Rebecca


From Oliver Reed and Charlie Sheen, to Mickey Mouse and Dogtanian, our love affair with the Three Musketeers shows no signs of waning.  With the imminent release of the new movie version (starring Orlando Bloom and Matthew Macfadyen) we thought the time was ripe to zone in on some of the locations associated with the original fab four (not forgetting D’Artagnan!) from Alexandre Dumas’ novel.

So here’s our guide to enjoying some swashbuckling adventures around France.

Head to Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées for: The real McCoy

Inspired by a 17th century work Memoires de d’Artagnan by Gatien de Cortilz de Sandras, The Three Musketeers is believed to be based on various historical characters who really existed

The real Porthos, Aramis and Athos as well as D’Artagnan all hailed from the Béarn region of Gascony.  Criss-crossing the borders of Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées will transport you to the home-land of these French Guard elite.

Issac de Porteau, Dumas’ Porthos, was born in 1617 in Pau and his manor is still standing, in the village of Lanne.  The Chateau de Porothos – where he retired from service – was damaged in an earthquake but restored in 2005.

Henry d’Aramitz, the inspiration for Aramis, was an abbot in the valley of Barétous, whilst Athos was based on Armand de Sillègue, who was born in the village of Athos-Aspis.  His cousin, Arnaud-Jean du Peyrer, Comte de Treville, Captain of the King’s Musketeers, lived at le Chateau de Trois-Villes in Tardets.  A private residence, the castle is open year-round bar June.

Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d’Artagnan – who Dumas’ character is believed to be based on – was born in Lupiac in Gers.  Today the village is home to the D’Artagnan Museum, where visitors can learn the legend behind the hero. And you can also pay a visit to the Chateau of Castelmore, where Batz was born.

Also worth a visit is nearby Auch, the ancient capital of Gascony, to snap the statue of D’Artagnan.

Statue of D’Artagnan

And in Condom you can see the recently commissioned sculpture of the three musketeers by Russian artist, Zurab Tsereteli.

Sculpture of the three musketeers by Zurab Tsereteli

The Château d’Arricau-Bordes in Madiran, known locally as the ”ancienne résidence de d’Artagnan, le fameux mousquetaire’’, may not hold many musketeer relics but is worth a visit for the vineyards – as one of the oldest wine estates in France.   It was the 18th-century home of the Comte Jean-Paul Montesquiou d’Artagnan, uncle of the illustrious musketeer and D’Artagnan is said to have stayed in the property on numerous occasions.

The Château d’Arricau-Bordes in Madiran

And if you want to explore the region famous for the real musketeers, the Pierre & Vacances’ Residence Le Hameau du Lac, Marciac, offers self catering accommodation for all the family. 

Head to Rhône-Alpes for: Following in the Footsteps of Celebrity

If, like us, you’re a little bit in love with the 1973 film version starring Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Michael York, then you’ll want to make a beeline for Perouges at the foot of the Alps.  Whilst much of the film was shot on location in Spain (quelle horreur!), Perouges’s charming cobbled streets and old stone buildings appeared as a backdrop for certain scenes.

For comfortable self catering accommodation, the Aparthotel Annecy Centre is ideal for those wanting to wander in the footsteps of film stars. 

Head to Paris for: A Piece of the Action

A Three Musketeers pilgrimage wouldn’t be complete without retracing their steps in the capital, where the main protagonists lived.

Val-de-Grâce church on rue St Jacques in the 5th was commissioned by Anne of Austria, wife to Louis XIII and the French Queen in The Three Musketeers.  Legend tells that she originally built just the cloister, but when she had a son after 23 childless years of marriage, she had the church built in celebration.  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 real Cardinal Richelieu lived at number 21 Place de Vosges, the oldest square in Paris, from 1615 to 1627.

Place de Vosges

The musketeers of the novel lived very close to each other:

  •  Athos in Rue Férou – between St. Sulpice and the Luxembourg garden, a narrow street lined with high-walled courtyards and 17th century buildings.  Athos lived here, “two steps away from the Luxembourg Garden”, and it is here that he was wounded in a duel at the beginning of the story
  • Aramis in Rue Servandoni
  • Porthos in Rue du Vieux Colombier

When D’Artagnan arrives in Paris he finds lodgings on the Rue des Fossoyeurs.  Monsieur de Treville’s residence, is on the Rue du Vieux Colombier, which we later learn is where Porthos lives and which runs along the north side of the present place Saint-Sulpice, joined on the south side by Rue Férou, where Athos lives.

Rue de Fossoyeurs, where D’Artagnan used to live, is present-day Rue Servandoni, running parallel to Rue Ferou, between the church and the park.

Rue de Fossoyeurs

The dueling site where they all showed up to fight D’Artagnan was at the Carmes-Deschaux, Rue des Carmes.

The Louvre was the setting for various scenes in the novel as was the Luxembourg Palace.

And as a last homage, visit the crypt of the Pantheon where a number of French heroes are buried and where Dumas himself keeps company with the likes of Marie Curie, Victor Hugo and Louis Braille, the inventor of the script for the blind.

Alexandre Duma

And for those wanting to retrace the steps of the Musketeers’ Parisian adventures, Pierre & Vacances has a wide range of self-catering accommodation in the heart of Paris.