Sully: The Burgundian Elysee
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Sully: The Burgundian Elysee

One of the most beautiful châteaux of Burgundy was nicknamed "L'Elysée" as a reference to the Residence of the President of the French Republic. Discover why.

The massive Renaissance château of Sully majestically lies in this valley of the Drée River that winds in the meadows with two other streams. It is a complete palette of colours that awaits the visitor entering the estate with its lawns and box-trees  trimmed in balls on each side of the alley. This long alley is framed by stables and outbuildings covered with red tiles of Burgundy matching the ochre and reddish tones. The white stone château,itself covered with grey-blue slates, really is stately and reflects on the waters.

The general arrangement and adornment  recalls the château of Ancy-le-Franc, also in Burgundy. Jean de Saulx acquired the land of Sully in 1515 and began the construction of the château that was continued by his grand-son Jehan de Tavannes. It presents four wings flanked by four diamond-shaped angled towers with a pyramidal roofing, surrounding a superb Renaissance inner courtyard.  The large windows on the piano nobile are separated by elegant pilasters. Two corbeled turrets frame the chapel on the South façade that was transformed in Neo-Renaissance Style in 1863. The North façade was rebuilt in the XVIIIth century and offers a great number of windows, it is preceded by a monumental flight of stairs giving access to a terrace. The moat is fed by the waters of the Drée River. 

Madame de Sévigné once nicknamed  the place "The Fontainebleau of Burgundy". This château built at the end of the XVIth century and beautified during all centuries also received another name but only during three weeks, in 1873 when it was called "L'Elysée". Simply because the Duke of Magenta, Maréchal de Mac Mahon and President of the French Third Republic (from 1873 to 1879) had here his residence and gave magnificent parties. He indeed knew this place very well as he was born in the château in 1808. His "képi" is kept here, it is perforated by a bullit. The future Marshall wore this cap during the Crimean War when he won fame for the taking of the Malakoff Tower at Sevastopol in 1855. This is where he said his famous "J'y suis, j'y reste" (Here I am, here I stay). The château, listed a Historic Monument in 1995, still belongs to his descendants and can be visited.

The alley with box-trees leading to the Château of Sully.

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The entrance façade.

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The chapel and corbeled turrets on the right.

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The North façade rebuilt in the XVIIIth century.

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The outbuildings at the entrance of the estate.

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The stables and the château in the background.

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Comments (4)

An inspiring study, Francois. I love the title and the historical analysis. The building is beautifully described and illustrated.

Parties there must've been really cool.

The North façade is so awesome. I like its view in front of the water. Great facts here. Thanks.

Impressive and well detailed write-up. Thanks