Stroll at Digoine Castle

IMG_6601Go back in time, get lost in the counts’ and countesses’ stories, enjoy an explosion of cultures in the same and unique place, gaze at its typically French garden, its quintessentially English park and its Italian little theatre… very simply go to Digoine Castle…

Three noble families lived there before the current owner, who’s no one but the producer of Secret d’Histoire, Jean-Louis Remilleux. Indeed, this history enthusiast bought the castle in 2012 and is now willing to give it its splendour of the old days back.

The visit begins with a thorough observation of the Neo-Gothic south facade of the 18th century, followed by the baroque north facade. There, we’ll find gilding on the windows’ balconies as well as the Reclesnes family’s coat of arms. The two towers of the castle are the only relics of the 14th-century castle.

The stroll continues in the typically French garden, redrawn by the landscaper Achille Duchêne around 1920, a garden that is magnificently completed by the 1830 greenhouse, an enchanted world, a piece of paradise, which has entirely been restored since the arrival of the new owner. Concerning the garden in itself, it also possesses a vegetable garden (it formerly was the place where the cemetery of the Picpus Monks was situated) as well as stables, which are nowadays used as a shed for the palm and orange trees.

Outside the castle, we can visit the little theatre of 1842, which can welcome about a hundred persons. It was conceived by Ciceri when the count of Chabrillan’s grandson was born. Ciceri, the chief decorator of the Paris Opera, notably made the beautiful and authentic window-dressing drop cloth. This little theatre welcomed many artists on its stage, including the grandiose cello player Offenbach, who came to play a triumphal and majestic waltz for the count of Chabrillan’s spouse, inspired by Victor Hugo’s poem ‘Hope in God’ (“Espoir en Dieu” in French), as well as Sarah Bernhardt in summer 1900… Besides, the current owner of the castle would like to restore this little theatre in order to reuse it for future shows that would be open to the public.

Hope, child! Tomorrow! And tomorrow again!

And always tomorrow! Believe in the future.

– Extract of ‘Hope in God’ by Victor Hugo

Inside the castle, we discover the sumptuous owner’s collection, situated on the ground floor. First, we enter the hall, where water seems to be a preeminent theme. We then discover the central living room, where the panelling are inspired by Louis XVI’s time, as well as the summer and winter dining rooms.

A few steps later and we are in the lovely room that is dedicated to Marie-Antoinette; we then finish with the first tower, mostly inspired by the feudal period.

Let’s retrace our steps now and walk through the impressive succession of rooms, which first leads us to the double living room, whose first part is dedicated to music although it nowadays possesses the portraits of the 19th century persons of fashion, while the second part is devoted to horses.

The visit of the inside will end with a short passage through an anteroom, directly leading us to the Neo-Gothic library, whose circular window-dressing parquet feels like the sun, coming to enlighten the curious spirits.

Now, what better way is there to beautifully terminates this stroll but with a little anecdote that’ll leave you pensive for a while… Indeed, Burgundy wine would have saved the castle from an attack of revolutionists from Paray-le-Monial, who’d have drunk a bit of this wine on the night before the assault and would therefore not have remembered, when they woke up, why they were at the castle.

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Practical information:

Guided tour of the inside of the castle as well as of the little theatre (it is advised to book your guided tour in advance / phone number: +33 (0) 3 85 70 20 27)

You’re free to visit the park, the garden and the greenhouse on your own

OPENING HOURS

In May, June, September and October: open at weekends and on bank holidays from 2 pm to 7 pm

In July and August: open everyday from 2 pm to 7 pm

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