Seeking Inspiration in Puisaye-Forterre
We could have kept this to ourselves; been more discrete or simply neglected to share one of the best kept secrets in Burgundy-Franche-Comté with you. But we decided to tell you everything there is to know about Puisaye-Forterre: a little piece of land that is as surprising as it is inspiring. Here’s proof!
Guédelon: I have a dream
Here, when we get an idea in our head, we really go for it. Around twenty years ago, a handful of enthusiasts decided to construct a fortified château using only medieval techniques. With pickaxes, treadwheels and knotted ropes, workers have been toiling away since 1997 in extreme conditions. At Guédelon (pictured above), where travelling back in time is not just a turn of phrase, the carpenters and roofers have just managed to cover the chapel: the first of the château’s towers is now on the horizon!
Larousse and Colette: the plume and the aplomb
La Puisaye-Forterre also cultivates its longstanding passion for fine words. That’s why you can see the quill of Pierre Larousse, the leading encyclopaedist and inventor of the dictionary, in Toucy. Or you can step inside the birth house of the passionate novelist Colette at Saint-Sauveur en Puisaye. These colourful characters spread the fame of Puisaye-Forterre in their time and made it a cultural melting pot!
maisondecolette.fr / musee-colette.com
Saint-Fargeau: forget your history books
Puisaye-Forterre also knows how make things come alive. Every summer, the Château de Saint-Fargeau rolls out the red carpet for the History of France: 600 actors and 60 horse riders offer us a wild journey through space and time. This son et lumière – one of the biggest in Europe – brings to life the old stones of the château. Phantoms, violent criminals, Revolution, the arrival of the American troops: this spectacle combines theatre pieces, performances and special effects to create a living picture book of the Château de Saint-Fargeau.
La Fabuloserie: dedicated to art brut
This is a magical venue that makes an impression on everyone; a home-museum, an extraordinary garden and artists that are not really artists. La Fabuloserie was born from Alain Bourbonnais’ passion for art brut. An unusual art form that appears where it is least expected: in a corridor, behind a door, on the ceiling or at the bottom of the garden, quirky creations produced by self-taught artists draw the visitors gaze. This anti-establishment collection challenges, reveals, troubles, puzzles and blurs the lines.
Pottery: the artisanal chapter
In the hands of its potters, Puisaye-Forterre is revealed. A land of clay, it has turned the tradition of pottery into a whole state of mind. This story that connects people and clay, the elements and inspiration, the hand and the potter’s wheel, is written in discrete little workshops as well as in those that are more well-known. There is no doubt that these are the real artisans, whose work can be found in London, New-York or Dubai… It is telling that the village of Saint-Amand in Puisaye has even been granted the Town of Arts and Crafts label.
Bonus prize: Two inspired guest houses for you to stay in
Ecolodge Beauregard, making time stand still. An escape from the norm with these ultra-charming cabins: hidden, perched, nestling, hanging beneath the canopy, these Eco-lodges play the nature card well.
Les Galants, cosy nests perched up high. Centuries-old trees, a cosy bed set among the branches, the feeling of being slightly aslant, staircases that hang in the air, a roof of wood and glass: night time in the midst of the beautiful forest is gentle and soothing!