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ChAteau de Bussy-Rabutin

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Chateau de Bussy Rabutin BurgundyThe Château de Bussy-Rabutin is undoubtedly an impressive building, but just as interesting is the story of its original owner, Roger de Bussy-Rabutin. 'Outrageous', 'scandalous' and 'flamboyant' are some of the politer descriptions of his character.

It was 1649 when Roger de Bussy-Rabutin completed the restoration of his father's château in a valley opposite the village of Bussy-le-Grand. The result is
an imposing building ranged round three sides of a quadrangle set between four conical towers. Standing in 34 hectares (84 acres) of parkland and gardens, this is where he ended up confined, due to his misdemeanours amongst the society of the day.

Count Bussy RabutinCousin of the writer Madame de Sévigné, Bussy-Rabutin was part of life at the Court of Louis XIV. He had a military career, distinguished only it seems by an orgy where he sang songs ridiculing the King's affair with Marie de Mancini. Louis sent Bussy-Rabutin into exile in Burgundy, and there, accompanied by his mistress, the Marquise de Montglat, he wrote his 'Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules', a series of tales, partly true, about four famous ladies of the Court. For this scurrilous work, he was sent to prison in the Bastille for a year.

He was forced into exile at the château and began to surround himself with memorabilia in a 'gilded cage'. The walls of the main rooms display bitchy cartoons and comments about his ex-mistresses and celebrities of the time. In his bedchamber there are portraits of 25 mistresses of French kings, another room has portraits of great warriors including Cromwell.

Château Bussy-Rabutin, Burgundy, FranceThe château is an interesting insight into the decadent reign of the Sun King. As for Bussy-Rabutin, he was a bitter and twisted man certainly, but his flamboyant character shines through over three hundred years after his death. Some heritage one might say.

*Château de Bussy-Rabutin, Bussy-le-Grand is open all year, 9.15 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 17.00 daily except Mondays. Tel: 03 80 96 00 03

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Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com