Saturday, 1 February 2014

One letter can make the difference

Couches has a beautiful mediaeval castle, normally referred to as the castle of Margaret of Burgundy. The construction of the castle was started in the 11th century.

Donjon, Chapelle, Tour de Justice - Couches
When we visited the castle recently, the guide told us that there is no written evidence whatsoever that the castle had ever belonged to this Margaret (1290-1315), let alone that she had set foot in it. Again, according to our guide the confusion could well have been caused by the fact that there is another castle in Conches (Normandy) which in its turn has had something to do with Margaret of Burgundy. For some pictures of the château, click here.

The owners of the castle in Couches have solved this "problem" very elegantly and pragmatically: the castle is now called the "Château de Couches dit de Marguerite de Bourgogne", or the castle of Couches AKA that of Margaret of Burgundy. This Margaret was imprisoned by her husband Louis X (the Stubborn), the King of France in Château Gaillard (Normandy), where she died under suspicious circumstances.

Logis, Chapelle, Tour de Justice - Couches
Wikipedia comes with yet another story to link Margaret to Couches. She did not die in 1315, but was secretly transferred to Couches on request of her cousin Marie of Couches, where she died in 1533. However, in my view this story has a too high content of the Anastasia Romanova story.
In any case, the castle with its medieval donjon, round towers and its flamboyant-gothic chapel (1460) is certainly worth a visit.
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!

Couches is slightly more than an hour's drive away from La Tuilerie de Chazelle, and the road takes you partially through the vineyards of the Chalonnais region.

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