Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Château de Bussy-Rabutin

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Paris in July 2018 hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea. Visit her web-site for more info. From food and Zola in my first post to culture, history and books in this one.

During a recent trip to France (Champagne and Bourgogne, heading south towards Switzerland) we happened to pass by a wonderful French château. Being a castle fanatic, it was just too good to miss. It is situated six km northeast of Alise-Sainte-Reine. In 52 BC the famous battle of Alesia took place here (although the experts are arguing about the exact place).  "It was fought by the army of Julius Ceasar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingétorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Ceasar's greatest military achievements and a classic example of siege warfare and investment. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France and Belgium." (Wikipedia). There is nevertheless a museum commemorating the battle, and if you drive up to the hill overlooking the plain there is a staty of Vercingétorix, as well as a fabulous view. But, that is another matter and we were going to talk about castles.

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The man himself
Château de Bussy-Rabutin is an interesting and very well preserved castle. It was originally built in the 12th century by Renaudin de Bussy, but has been extended and renovated through the centuries. In the 17th century it belonged to Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy (1618-1693). He was a member of the Academy during the reign of Louis XIV, a notorious womaniser, and on top of that, he was bold enough to put his impressions on the life at the Sun king's court into print. The book, Histoires Amoureuses des Gaules, led him directly to the Bastille and later on, in exile at his castle in Bourgogne. Although my French is not that good, I could not help but buy the book. A page a day?

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The rotunda with portraits

The castle if fascinating, filled with portraits of military men and admirable women. His bedroom, and the rotunda attaching it, is filled with portraits of women, lovers or friends, who knows. He had a habit though, slightly bad, one must say. He added a comment to each portrait. Maybe to remember the fair lady. One of them reads: The most beautiful woman of her day, less renowned for her beauty than the uses she put it to.”

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The Renaissance gallery

There is a renaissance gallery filled of family portraits on one said and royals and other famous persons of the day on the other side. It is quite beautiful and fascinating to walk around among all these portraits. The surrounding park is a pleasure to walk around and you can also loose yourself in the maze.  We had some difficulties in finding our way out and had to squeeze through a hole in the hedge! Luckily so, since they were closing the castle and the park.

2 comments:

  1. Lovely foto's and I love French history. Thanks for the reading tip: Histoires Amoureuses des Gaules,...I'll look it up on Amazon. Reading French, you are right, it starts with a page a day. In 2012 I read Mme Bovary in French. I was determined to learn the language. I took me 3 months to read Flaubert! A I could recommend the biography of Berthe Moirsot by Dominique Bona (Prix Goncourt Biographie 2000). The French is very easy...'do-able' !

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  2. I love the idea of adding the comment to the portrait, though perhaps it would be more appropriate on the back instead of up front where all can see. This spot looks absolutely fabulous, Lisbeth. What a treat to enjoy it first hand!

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