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ChAteau d' Ancy-le-Franc
near Chablis

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Chteau Ancy-le-Franc, Burgundy, France Chambre Diana, Chateau d'Ancy le France Burgundy

Sumptuous Ancy-le-Franc - it's not just about history - there's a full calendar of events for 2017. New rooms have been opened including the Chambre Diane, above right, concerts, art exhibition, cooking demonstrations, visits by candlelight and more coming soon.

Rich and mellow like a good Burgundy wine, the interior of the château at Ancy-le-Franc envelopes you in history. The lofty carved ceilings, the Italian tiled floors, frescos and friezes, there is decorative detail to absorb at every turn. The Marquise de Sévigné wrote in her letters that it is a French building ‘in Italian dress’.

Chteau Ancy-le-Franc, Burgundy, France
Italian influenced murals and flooring.

From the outside there is perfect symmetry. The central courtyard, which has recently been beautifully restored, is formed by the four wings with a tower at each corner. Designed by Sebastiano Serlio in 1542 for the Duc de Clermont-Tonnerre, there are Italian influences throughout in the materials used, the murals and ceilings. No expense was spared, down to the burr maple insets in the parquet flooring.

The château contains one of the finest collections in France of mural paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. Painters from Burgundy, Flanders and the School of Fontainbleau, such as Il Primaticcio and Niccolo dell’Abate have realized their masterpieces here.

There is a fine private chapel, ornate galleries and bed chambers. The Flower Room is particularly special, with panels illustrating 30 different flower species; inspiration one feels for many interior designers that followed.

Continuing on with the restoration work, the Pharsale Gallery was reopened in June 2005. This is a 32m long ochre monochrome mural of the battle of Pharsale, a fairly gory affair by all accounts. The latest addition in 2014 was the apartment Diane, nine rooms, exquisitely renovated.

Chteau Renaissance, Burgundy, France
On an island, in a pond, the folly.

The château stands in a beautiful park with an 18th century folly on a romantic island in the middle of a pond.

* Château d' Ancy-le-Franc is open from April to mid-November with guided tours from 10.30 to 17.00. Closed Mondays. Groups throughout the year by reservation. (tel: 00 33 (0)386 75 14 63)

* Concerts in the château are held once a month throughout the season.

Photos © Château d'Ancy le Franc

Places to stay nearby

Places to visit nearby

Touring offer

It can get pricey when you are visiting a lot of stately homes and places of interest. Five places in Burgundy have got together to launch the Pass Touristique 'Les Incontournables en Bourgogne' - five 'must-see' sites. Visit the first free of charge - either Château d'Ancy-le-Franc, L'Abbaye de Fontenay or La Grande Forge de Buffon at Montbard. You will receive preferential rates at the other two locations, go on to the medieval town of Noyers-sur-Serein for a guided visit and La Chablisienne in Chablis for wine at a reduced price. More details from the local tourist offices.

Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com