Castle of Cormatin
Location: 45km south of the cottages, 10km north of Cluny.
Why we love this place :
- the visit is well documented, varied and accessible to all. Information cards are available in English.
- the 12ha park is beautiful with its ponds, a dovecote that dominates the famous labyrinth of boxwood, and a rustic garden, or "potager", adjoining the farm buildings (see webiste of the castle of Cormatin),
- its beautiful interiors, including some walls and ceilings decorated with lapis lazuli, many paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, carved wooden chimney surrounds and a monumental stone staircase,
- the side building, the remains of a wing of the Chateau, which displays photographs of the castle as it was before its renovation by the current owners,
- some summers, the castle has offered its grounds for a theatre festival, "Les Rendez-vous de Cormatin". Check the Cormatin website for information for the current year.
- a bustling village where one will find of note, in a former mill, an artisans gallery unique in Burgundy. There are more than 100 exhibitors selling arts, crafts, gourmet food, and gifts. Entry is free.
- The church of the village of Cormatin contains a wealth of Burgundian art including a Pieta and painting on wood from the fifteenth century.
A little history: Originally a fortified stronghold, the castle was transformed in the early seventeenth century by Jacques le Blé. This intimate of Marie de Medici was inspired by the Luxembourg Palace, built at the same time for the Queen. In the nineteenth century, the castle of Cormatin was frequently visited by Lamartine, who wrote his political manifesto there. During the 'Belle Époque' it was visited by popular musical celebrities such as Caruso, the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, and the composer Massenet.