Chateaux Living in Burgundy-Franche-Comte
Boasting a truly turbulent history, the region of Burgundy-Franche-Comte is brimming with châteaux. But visiting these châteaux also means letting your imagination run wild, travelling through time, diving headlong into adventures featuring knights, kings, princesses and other legends… Everyone can live their own château life in Burgundy-Franche-Comté!
Hilltop villages and châteaux
You discover Brancion perched on a rocky outcrop just around a bend on the road from Tournus to Charolles. Upon entering the village enclosure that is defended by a heavy medieval door – on foot only – you spot the château’s square tower. From its summit there is an incredible panorama across the mountains of the Mâconnais and the Grosne Valley: Brancion is certainly attractive and sure to leave an unforgettable memory.
On the threshold of the Morvan and the Auxois, Châteauneuf has managed to keep mass tourism at bay. Listed among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, the old town proudly keeps watch over houses built of limestone, narrow cobbled streets, gardens… and its château. Overlooking the Canal de Bourgogne and the Auxois Valley, the Château de Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is one of the rare châteaux in the region to have retained its medieval aspect. Perched at an altitude of 500 metres, its silhouette is visible from afar and provides evidence of the grandeur of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Further north, the Château de Ray-sur-Saône seems to have sprung from the pages of a fairy story. Overlooking a listed village, its massive silhouette and towers with machicolations bear witness to the Middle Ages. It is easy to understand that this château was put there to defend and keep watch. Inside, the ambience is more bucolic thanks to an eight-hectare park that boasts some rare plant species.
With beautiful gardens, towers that point proudly to the heavens and moats, these are the types of château everyone loves to see. The palace of a libertine in exile – Count Roger de Bussy-Rabutin who was chased out of the court of Louis XIV because of his writings – the Château de Bussy-Rabutin is surrounded by a park and sits at the end of a wild and tranquil valley. Within its French-style gardens, which boast the ‘Remarkable Gardens’ label, leafy labyrinths and star-shaped pathways intertwine perfectly and seamlessly.
Not far from there, along the Canal de Bourgogne and the River Armançon, the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc was built at the heart of a vast 50-hectare estate. Directly rivalling Fontainebleau in terms of the wealth and quantity of its frescoes, this château of bright white stone is perfect for a dreamy stroll. Covering more than 10,000m2, since 2017 four parterres of plants have reproduced the tableaux that hang in the Flower Chamber. The gardens, the pond and the pretty folly from the 18th Century all add a romantic charm to this site. This ‘Grand Siècle’ house is blessed with a spirit that is resolutely contemporary.
To be truly immersed in the atmosphere of these venues, there is nothing like spending a night in a château. It is possible to stay in charming rooms that have been thoughtfully and elegantly restored at the Château de Couches, built between the vineyards and the undulating hills. On the road that runs from Paris to Chalon, this fortress can be explored thanks to some original and immersive experiences: digital games, treasure hunts, guided and costumed visits, tastings of wines from the château… This fortress has survived through the ages with great brio.
Not far from the Cascades du Hérisson, La Villa Palladienne de Syam surprises everyone who visits the Jura countryside. With its design inspired by the beautiful Italian villas of Master Palladio, its Pompeian decoration and trompe l’œil wallpapers, the château combines charm and originality. Whilst it enjoyed a sparkling and peaceful 19th Century, it was only thanks to a passionate couple of Jura locals that it was saved from demolition in 2001. Since then, they have breathed new life into this home by opening it to visitors and offering a chance to stay in their charming guest rooms.
Meet the proprietors
Set alongside the River Ognon, a discrete tributary of the Saône, the Château d’Oricourt offers another imposing example of medieval military architecture. A double enclosure, square towers surrounded by deep ditches, a dovecote, wells, fortified perimeter walls and main buildings restored in the 15th Century with a few Renaissance features… This visit is even more interesting when enjoyed in the company of the château’s owners who are full of fascinating anecdotes.
For more information: patrimoine.bourgognefranchecomte.com
Top image: P Mathie