Saturday, 15 February 2014

An old acquaintance

When we (finally) managed to visit the castle of Germolles we bumped into an old acquaintance. Well, bumped into.... not in the flesh, at least.

Château - Germolles
Germolles was already an existing fortress when Philip the Bald, Duke of Burgundy, obtained the castle by seizure. He had the place renovated and turned it into a country estate for his wife Margaret of Flanders. It is one of the few remaining residences of the dukes of Burgundy.
The château still preserves some of its mediaeval glory: the cellar is interesting, the remains of the towers are 13th century and the 2-storey chapel shows a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. For some pictures, click here.

Towers and chapel - Germolles
The 15th century residential part is inhabited by the owners, however, a few rooms can be visited during the guided tour. The rooms with the walls decorated with the initials of Philip and Margaret are very interesting; unfortunately photographing is not allowed inside. The attached picture of the interior was copied from the website of the château.
But whatever happened to the old acquaintance? It turned out that Claus Sluter, court sculptor of Philip, was involved in the renovation of the property. There was a big fire place in one of the rooms inside the residential building, adorned with two beautifully sculpted capitals made in the workshop of the originally Dutch sculptor.

Capital of Claus Sluter - Germolles
Not so long ago, after having been closed for a long period, the hall with the mausoleum of Philip in the ducal palace in Dijon was reopened for the public, and the famous mourners of Claus Sluter were placed back in their niches around the walls of the mausoleum.
As for more châteaux in the area, the tickets to one of the castles mentioned hereafter give the visitor a discount on entrance tickets for or one of the others : Berzé-le-Châtel, Brancion, Brandon, Couches, Demigny, Drée, Germolles, La Ferté, Pierreclos, Pierre-de-Bresse and Sully. I always staple the tickets to the brochure "La Route des Châteaux en Bourgogne du Sud", because I know from experience that if I do not do it that way I will never be able to present old tickets at the till!

De ducal chapel - Germolles
Germolles is only a three quarters of an hour's drive away from La Tuilerie de Chazelle, and the road takes you all the way through the vineyards of the Chalonnais region.

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