When duke of Sully bought the house which was named after him, he was 74 summers. Sully, Maximilien de Béthune, king Henri IV’s Lord High Treasurer (they were both protestant), made France richer. So he took a well-deserved retirement at home, rue Saint-Antoine, with his second wife Rachel Cochefilet.
They had 9 kids together, even if the lady wasn’t faithful at all. He didn’t care. He always said, giving money to her: «Here’s for you, for the house, for your lovers.» The little couple moved in their brand new and comfortable house, raised by architect Ducerceau, upon the foundations of the former Tournelles town house.
Do you rememberer? It was the royal palace where kings and queens of France used to live and where king Henri of France II died, a stake stuck in the eye after a tournament... But wait: the primitive town house was in fact too small.
So Sully bought the house at the bottom of the inner courtyard, opening on the place des Vosges. So we had the Grand hôtel and the Petit hôtel linked by an inner garden. Max used to go out by the bottom town house, to have a stroll. He quickly became a famous man in his district. He had his little habits.
He went out surrounded by his guards and noblemen, wearing gold and jewels. French chronicler Tallémant des Réaux wrote: «Every day, we could see him under the arches of the royal square, with lots of golden chains. He often stopped, took in his hands a golden medal flanked by Henri IV’s portrait he wore around his neck, and devoutly kissed it. All the passers-by had fun.»