Monday, 27 August 2012

Sightseeing in our own Town.

If you are a member of the Rendez-vous de Cormatin association which organises the theatre festival every year, you are allowed to visit Cormatin chateau in the summer for free. It is something we delight in, because the chateau is a real gem.

The original castle (1280) was demolished in 1606 to make way for this marvellous chateau. The du Blé family were rather low ranking nobility, but they had loads of money and they wanted to create a impressive chateau to make up for what they lacked in class. Getting in with the royal family secured the future of the chateau and their nobility for many years.

Eventually though, they ran into hard times and they demolished one wing of the chateau and sold it off as stone (hence only two of the original three wings remain) and when the roof of the central wing burned down, they could not afford to repair it with the original slate, so it has a rather humble local tiles on the roof.

After the family du Blé, the chateau has passed through a number of hands and was eventually abandoned in the 1920s and fell into rack and ruin. In the 1980s three individuals came forward to buy the chateau and they started the restoration. Again it was due to links on high (the owners were friends with president Mitterrand) that the castle has been able to flourish. A lot of government money has been pumped into the restoration and they have truly done a magnificent job.

One wing is open to the public, showing the rooms as they were created including furniture. This is the only chateau I have visited that has sufficient furniture to actually live in. One of the rooms, which was redone during the 1900s and appears to be used today, has photos in frames and books on the tables making it easy to see how the room is part of a home.

The internal staircase is well worth a special mention because it was built to impress. Architecturally it was very modern in its time, being a crossbreed between the circular staircases found in castles and the Italian staircase style found in early chateaux. It is very simple, but very imposing using two different types of stone. Interestingly the pinkish stone came from the quarry in Ameugny, just down the road, which now houses a climbing wall and a children’s’ play area.

After the one hour’s guided tour of the chateau, we wandered around the gardens and had a real feeling of being tourists in our own back yard. This won’t be the last time we will use our membership cards, that’s for sure.

La Tuilerie Website

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...