Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chateau Tanlay

We arrived in Tanlay after a very long day of cruising to find plenty of mooring spots available. It was a lovely spot where we could even have a game of tennis if we felt inclined. We opted to stay here for a couple of days. An added bonus was a bar right next to where we moored - and even better it was a creperie and pizzerie. So as soon as we had secured the boat we popped over to the bar for a cooling drink and then dinner. It must be the best place around because it is very popular all during the day and evening
Couldn't get closer to the bar if we tried. Note tennis court in background
The big attraction in Tanlay is the chateau - an impressive castle built in the 16th and 17th centuries on the foundations of a 13thC fortress.
Entrance to chateau Tanlay with its eastern influenced obelisks
We were fortunate enough to be the only people on our guided tour so we had a very personalised tour in English that went well beyond the usual 45 minutes.
The original owners of the chateau (the Coligny brothers) who started the construction process walked a very fine line in the religious arena. They were, in fact, Huguenots in a Catholic country and plots abounded. They had a secret room in the chateau in the Ligue Tower, where they met with fellow sympathisers.  However, there must have been treachery as all three brothers were eventually poisoned for their beliefs.
Frescoes on the ceiling of the secret Ligure Tower depicting political figures as Roman gods
The chateau was eventually given to Mazarin's finance superindent, Particeli d'Hemery, who continued the construction of the chateau. In the 1700s his great grandson sold it to John Thevenin who was eventually made a marquis and descendants of his family still live in the chateau today.
Several aspects of the chateau are particularly notable - the gallery with its trompe l'oeil and the Nymphae at the end of the Grand Canal. A fire in the gallery severely damaged the room and the frescoes. Restoration work meant that the gallery was shortened by 12 metres and that the previously naked characters on the walls received clothes!
Amazing trompe l'oeil in the gallery
It's hard to believe these are actually carved
The Nymphae built at the end of the Grand Canal designed to impress visiting dignitaries
Exterior roof line from the secret room in the Ligue Tower
Rectangular moat surrounding the Chateau

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