The Chateau de Cormatin rests on the foundations of a French medieval fortress built in Burgundy in 1280 by Henri du Ble. Both the chateau and its spectacular gardens are open to the public and are a popular destination for canal and barge boat passengers cruising along the Saone River.
History of the du Ble Family in France
The du Ble family can trace its noble French lineage back to the year 1000. A barony was acquired through a marriage in 1560 and Antoine du Ble further enhanced the family’s prestige by strategically throwing his support behind Henri IV.
The new king brought Antoine financial and social rewards, enabling him to rebuild Cormatin. The chateau was reconstructed using the existing feudal plan. The design – square with a tower at each corner – was both a practical and security feature.
As with many other French chateaux, the ramparts were later destroyed during the reign of Louis XIV. This indicated to the King that the nobility had no plans to revolt against his authority. The chateau’s slate roof not only showed the wealth of the du Ble family, it also announced their affiliation to the French Royal Court, as this material was the choice of royal residences.
French Chateau Staircase Architecture
The stunning open well interior staircase of Chateau de Cormatin was a relatively new development in early 17th century France. The arches and vaulting transfer the weight of the stones onto the outer walls. The plain, whitewashed space is a stark contrast to the highly decorated apartments. It allows one to appreciate both the engineering and the subtle colours of the various stones.
According to experts at the Château de Cormatin, neoplatonic philosophy, which was popular at the time, “attributed metaphysical virtues to numbers and geometrical shapes.” Therefore, a staircase designed using strict a mathematical formula was seen as representative of universal order.
Chateau de Cormatin Private Apartments
17th century French nobles would have “apartments” within their homes, which would contain four rooms: the anti-chamber, the bedchamber, the privy closet and the dressing room. Each of these rooms would be furnished according to its purpose.
At this time in French history, the bedchamber was the most important room within the chateau’s apartment and served as both a private and public place according to the time of day. Noble owners would also eat and entertain in the bedchamber.
The decor is rich with colors and complex symbolism that specifically relate to the person who inhabited the room. For example, paintings of fresh cut flowers represent the good deeds that one must perform daily, otherwise, like real flowers, their benefits will fade. The blue ceiling expresses faithfulness.
Beautiful French Gardens
The gardens at the chateau are notable for their variety and include an enormous maze, clipped animal topiaries and geometrically designed vegetable plots. You should allow ample time to explore and photograph the fabulous grounds.
Burgundy Chateau Travel Information
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