Avoir les dents longues

While a visit to Versailles may be an obligatory rite of passage when in France, a visit to the château Vaux-le-Vicomte on the outskirts of Paris is infinitely more pleasurable.  This 17th century gem was built by Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendant of Finances for Louis XIV. On August 17, 1661, Fouquet threw a lavish ball to inaugurate his château. Naturally, the king was there. According to the traditional version of the tale, the king was so jealous at the sight of this magnificent château when France was essentially bankrupt that he had Fouquet arrested. Fouquet spent the rest of his life in jail and lost all of his possessions.  Louis XIV then used Fouquet’s team of designer, architect, and landscaper to build Versailles.

VAUX%20LE%20VICOMTE%20BY%20NIGHT%202Vaux is particularly lovely at night illuminated by candlelight. This is much as it would have looked on the night of that fateful party that cost Fouquet everything he cared for. You can see it this way every Saturday evening from early May to early October.

vaux vicomteToday’s expression, avoir les dents longues (avwahr lay dehn lonG) literally means “to have long teeth.” Figuratively, however, it means to be very ambitious. Unfortunately, it was Fouquet’s ambition that caused his difficulties. Fortunately for us, however, it resulted in an absolutely gorgeous chateau that we can enjoy today – day and night.


About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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4 Responses to Avoir les dents longues

  1. Pingback: Casser la tete à quelqu’un | One quality, the finest.

  2. Pingback: Élysée | One quality, the finest.

  3. Pingback: Hôtels particuliers | One quality, the finest.

  4. Pingback: Une décoration de Noël | One quality, the finest.

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