Venarey les Laumes - Château de Bussy-Rabutin



The next stop was Venarey les Laumes from where we wanted to visit the Château de Bussy-Rabutin.

Our legs still aching from the previous day, we decided to take a taxi for the 7 km from the marine to the castle.


Although the castle was a real treasure grove we met only a handful of visitors. We marvelled about the so non-businesslike approach we have seen in France so far. There is no bus going from the village up, no guided tours, no café and no security inside for the many artworks. A leaflet in English explained the basic history of the castle, but the indoor Renaissance style galleries of wonderful paintings Roger Bussy Rabutin had collected, were left greatly unexplained. 

The "King's Gallery" features paintings from all the kings of France and the Rabutin family. In the cabinet of the gilded tower portraits of the beauties of the court can be found, apparently given to Bussy by his lady friends.

The word about Roger Bussy Rabutin is, that as a lieutenant of Louis XIV's armies he became exiled after writing a mocking book about the romantic adventures of the court. He also didn't ingratiate himself by having had an affair with one of the king's love interests.

After nearly getting lost in the garden's labyrinth, we made our way back on foot and regretted very soon not having taken a taxi. Unable to find a walkway we precariously scampered along the edge of a country road, obviously used by the locals as "Autobahn", jumping into muddy ditches at times to save our lives. 


Our legs still aching from the previous day, we set sail and headed to Montbard where we had a lunch date with Pamela and Angus at Café des Amis. Lunch, with a short interruption of an afternoon nap, very quickly merged into a picnic table party in front of the marina where we were joined by Danielle and Michael from Melbourne and Olivier from Perth.


Due to all the walking and sight seeing over the last 2 days, we were tempted to bypass the Abbey of Fontenay . But it's world heritage listing and a beautiful sunny day inspired us. Seeing the oldest Cistercian Monastry founded by Saint Bernard in 1118 was very worthwhile. 

The Romanesque church has the shape of a Roman cross and it's stripped bare interior made it even more striking. 

The adjoining dormitory had a beautiful oak ceiling. The cloisters and amazing 12th century forge, the first iron tool producing forge in the world and the surrounding sculptured gardens were all very impressive.


We made it back, almost on time, to yet another lunch date with beautiful Pamela and the cheeky yet charming Angus.

© Austin Robinson 2019