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Evocative 14th century fortified Rosiere Castle farmouse

September 15, 2017
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It was, as they say, the massiveness of its walls (1.8 m thick) which deterred the Revolutionaries from tearing down this old stronghold of Rosières, symbol of the inequalities of the Ancien Régime. Subsequently occupied by the domain’s farmers, it has remained more or less in the same state in which it was left by the lords of Saint-Seine in the 18th century. Immerse yourself in the life of the chatelains of Rosières, vassals of the Dukes of Burgundy and then the King of France, as if they had just vacated the properlimestone-wall-cladding-castle-provence

A fortified barn

The fief of Rosières was originally a gift from the Duke of Burgundy to the Knight Regnaud de Saint-Seine. A 1294 charter and archives dating from 1312 state that it was an agricultural domain with a “barn” and outbuildings. It was probably at the beginning of the 15th century that an impressive tower was constructed on the site to reinforce the town defences and provide shelter to the locals during this time of constant upheaval. Vestiges of fire damage to the beams and old wooden framework attest to it having been attacked at some time.french-limestone-wall-cladding-france

A ditch and a defence wall used to surround the building, encompassing the barn and dovecote (a seigniorial privilege). The care taken to configure the interior of the stronghold of Rosières gives the impression that certain members of the Saint-Seine family resided there at that time.castle-de-rosiere-french-provence-farmhouse-limestone-wall-cladding

Brought up to date and changes in ownership

Several years after Burgundy had been annexed by the Crown, King François I decided to grant the Rosières estate and its fortified tower to his friend Claude de Foucher, for services rendered. The domain changed hands several times in the 16th and 17th centuries, owing to various sales and alliances, until Claude Bernard de Maillard and his wife Anne-Reine Mallot du Bousquet decided to modernize this fortified tower.limestone-flooring-wall-cladding-french-provence-castle As the defensive ditch had lost its raison d’être, the old portcullis was converted into a very tastefully decorated arcade and entrance pavilion in Italian trompe l’oeil. The plastered interior walls of the castle are painted with garlands and heraldic motifs as are the ceiling joists. Painted motifs also adorn other oak-panelled walls.

Source of speculation then abandoned

Comfortable – although not furnished as lavishly as 18th century country houses once were – the site was sold many times (with appreciable capital gains) until it fell into the hands of Bénigne Legouz, lord of Saint-Seine. The old tower was finally attached to the farm domain and used as living quarters and a corn loft until it was repurchased by the Bergerot family. Since then the tower has undergone important restoration work, respecting its historical heritage as much as possible. The guest rooms, set out in its vast medieval chambers, are some of the most inspirational in France.limestone-french-bedroom-antiquefrench-provencal-living-room-limestone-wall-cladding-flooringfrench-farmhouse-provence-limestone-spiral-stairway

An occupied stronghold

The most fascinating thing about Rosières is that you can stay in a genuine fortified castle which has never been unoccupied. Its spiral staircase is the same one that has been in use for 600 years, giving access to all the rooms in the tower, from the kitchen on the ground floor to the guardroom right at the top. Its (enormous) painted joists, wooden roof beams, partitions and multi-coloured ceramic tiled floors, date from the period (even if some elements come from other historic houses).french-farmhouse-provence-limestone-flooring-wall-cadding-dining-roomcastle-france-limestone-stairs-wall-cladding

The visitor’s circuit takes you through all the rooms in the castle so you can appreciate their decoration and history for yourself. The reception room, also used as the breakfast parlour, is extremely large (11 x 10 m) for a fortified tower. The very impressive window seats encompassed all occupations where daylight was required. Enjoy the wall walk at sunset, when a golden glow accentuates the relief. It is a reminder of the tower’s defensive role, with its impressive machicolations, (plunging openings) and the vestiges of its three bartizans (turrets).castle-french-provence

Hospitality is not an empty phrase at Rosières

Of the four rooms that can be reserved at Rosières, two are really medieval (the Marguerite de St. Remy suite and the Eudes IV room). A third room – smaller – is inspired by the 19th century (in the entrance gallery arcade) and the fourth (tastefully furnished in the barn opposite the tower) has an early 20th century feel to it. The furniture has been chosen with care and includes decorative features and bathroom fittings; great attention has been paid to details…farmhouse-bedroomfarmhouse-bathroom-antique-limestone-sink-antique-french-farmhouse-limestone-fireplace-limestone-flooring

To avoid any disappointment, it is worth knowing there is no television or telephone in the rooms (however, an excellent Wifi connection makes up for this – quite deliberate – oversight).

It is during breakfast (on antique-style crockery) that you will have the opportunity to meet Bertrand and Odile Bergerot. This is a moment of conviviality to be savoured as they have plenty of stories to tell about their family tower and the thousands of visitors they have seen wax lyrical over Rosières in the past 20 years.antique-farmhouse-master-bedroom-limestone-flooring

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