We traveled the last few days with our friends Mary and Gilles Germain. I had asked that we do a ramble to include two Renaissance chateaux in the Burgundy region, so Mary and Gilles put together an itinerary that included the two, the excellent town of Langres, and a new place to us – Troyes (pronunciation to be explained later). I’ll do a post for each of the two chateaux, then one on Langres and one on Troyes. Here is our visit to Chateau Tanlay.
We arrived after a pleasant couple-hour drive from Chartrettes, where Mary and Gilles live and from which we started our ramble. We parked, walked to the chateau, looked at the building below and said, “Hmmmmm, beautiful, but not all that great a chateau.”
Renaissance chateaux are not terribly common in France, as most chateaux were built before the Renaissance. Tanlay (and Ancy-le-Franc, of which more in the next post) are even rarer in that they were designed by Italian architects, who had learned their business in Italy at the height of the Renaissance there. Renaissance chateaux are marked by perfect proportions and geometrical design, where earlier chateaux, derived from earlier defensive castles and designed by French architects, show some remnants of defensive structures.
We could see the interior only if we purchased the $12 guided tour. After some hemming and hawing, we thought, “Wait, what are we doing? We drove all this way and we’re not going to spend twelve bucks to see the place?” So we got our tour tickets and off we went.
The tour and the chateau were worth every freaking centime. The chateau was built between 1550 and 1568; it was acquired by the current owners in 1705. They still live in a wing of the chateau. I was asked to take no pictures during the tour, so I have nothing to show, except this picture I snuck in that shows some detail a wing of the chateau:
Some interesting history occurred in this chateau, but as it occurred in the 1570s, you might not be interested…
And finally, three happy travelers. Chateau Tanlay, not on any tourist guide itinerary, fascinated us. We agreed that we were all very glad I’d asked to visit it.