Author: Andrew Sessa

Raising three teenage boys in a 3,600-square-foot, four-bedroom home isn’t quite close quarters—even less so on four acres in Greenwich’s backcountry. But it isn’t exactly an easy-living ideal, either, especially when Dad describes his sons as "active".

In Rio de Janeiro, anyone out and about at 4 a.m. is more than likely still up from the night before. But not me. I woke up bright and early to make it to the city’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue by sunrise. Now, at the top of Corcovado Mountain, with the arms of the soaring, stone-carved Jesus stretched out above me, I watch the city come alive more than 2,000 feet below.

Before there was Versailles, there was Vaux le Vicomte. French-lawyer- turned-finance-minister Nicolas Fouquet finished this aesthetically pioneering French Baroque chateau and garden in 1661, several years before Louis XIV would even begin work on his glittering palace at Versailles, which he would go on to build using the same triumvirate of accomplished, forward-thinking design talents first brought together at Vaux—and many of their ideas, too.