Richelieu France – 5 Days

Our only exposure to Richelieu was a lunch 20+ years ago, so we were excited to spend some quality time in this old city after our stay in Geneva with kids.

The city of Richelieu, France, was founded in the early 17th century by Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, who later became known as Cardinal Richelieu. The cardinal envisioned a grand city and designed it with a grid-like layout, inspired by the Renaissance ideals of urban planning.

Construction began in 1631 and was completed within a decade. Richelieu served as a political and cultural center during the reign of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu’s influence. However, the city’s prominence declined after the cardinal’s death in 1642. Over the centuries, Richelieu retained its architectural heritage, characterized by its symmetrical streets and elegant buildings.

Richelieu Town

Today, it remains a small town with historical significance, attracting visitors interested in its unique urban design. It’s the only European town I’ve visited where everything is symmetrical and planned. Richelieu would have liked it to have been considered the center and capital of France, but looking at the waterways, it’s not terribly close to a large body of water or river. Still, very cool to visit!

Richelieu France with Kids

We arrived at an AirBnB conveniently located in town, right next to a little park, and walking distance to my aunt. It was much too big for the 4 of us, but we got sold on the amazing bathtub in the attic.

Richelieu AirBnB

Cousin Cassie came in from England to join us and awaited us at Toni’s house for dinner. We had a great time catching up, eating, playing scrabble, and having laughs.

de Pourtales and Norberg

Richelieu Outdoor Markets

The next morning, in the main square and covered pavilion, we perused antiques and books at a large market. Our timing was really good, as this was the first of 2 markets in a row (the next day being more about food.) We enjoyed all kinds of treats, and I bought an old lock and key to add to one of my next treehouses!

Richelieu Markets

Later in the evening, we had pizza at a local family-run joint, and walked around the square where a car club had assembled.

Loire Valley Car Club

Parc de Richelieu

The next morning, we went to see the goats and donkeys that Cassie had fallen in love with. Just outside of the confines and moat of the town are gorgeous parks. Here, we fed the animals and walked to where the old castle once stood. We were told that during the French Revolution, the castle was destroyed. All that remains are gardens and the bridge and moat around where it used to be. Mia found a bird that was in trouble, and we rescued it (and Witty found a frog.)

Parc de Richelieu

Chateau Rivau

Later in the day, we went to have lunch at Chateau Rivau, one of the most picturesque castles we’ve ever visited. Though the moat wasn’t filled with water, and only part of the internal castle was open to visitors, the gardens made up for it. It was beautiful! They keep bees on the property, grow organic produce and herbs, and have a garden maze. It’s modeled after nursery rhymes and fairy tales, so it’s perfect for kids. We had a wonderful lunch with much of it coming from the garden, picked up some of our favorite tea ever, and bought the most delicious honey.

Chateau Rivau

The art in the castle was a lot of fun. A collection of oddities that made us all laugh. As it turns out, our good friend from Kauai is friends with the family that lives there and has stayed there before.

What really took our breath away were the peacocks. It was like they planned a show for us!

Musee de Richelieu

The next day, between pastries and delicious meals, we visited the Richelieu Museum in town. It’s pretty tiny, but we enjoyed learning more about the region, the cardinal, historic battles, and seeing paintings and transcripts.

Richelieu Museum


We decided to drive 25-30 minutes to the town of Chinon, which happened to have roaming marching bands in crazy outfits during our visit. We listened to music, shopped, and grabbed some drinks in the main square. This is the town where the king was living when Joan of Arc came to petition him for an army to defeat the British. She was granted an army and was pivotal in leading the French in taking back their country (though she was beheaded for rubbing the wrong people the wrong way. But don’t worry, many years later the French government acknowledged their mistake of executing her by pardoning her…)

Chinon Castle

Due to the charm of this river-side hilly town, we visited the next day as well. This time we climbed to the top to tour the chateau, which had some incredible views. Upon our leaving, we found another market.


The little towns that dot the Loire Valley are not to be missed. We’re grateful for our time with family in beautiful Richelieu France.

Now, we’re off to Paris France for 2 weeks!

PAST: 2 decades on Maui, 35 years of surfing, 21 countries traveled, and just 1 treehouse built.

PRESENT: Seeking great food, would create art daily if I had endless energy/time, I run 3 businesses, and I put family at #1.  Prepping for the next personal challenge.

FUTURE: I'm most excited catching up and getting ahead with work. We just did 3.5 months of traveling, so no more major travel for a bit.


Europe with kids for 104 Days

ROCO Europe map

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