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Overview

About Château de Bagnols

Historic Chateau, restored to former glory

Dating from the 13th century, the Château de Bagnols is set among vineyards, forests and green hills in the heart of the Beaujolais countryside in south-eastern France. Now painstakingly restored to its former glory it is now France's finest five-star deluxe château-hotel.”

The story of Château de Bagnols mirrors the rise to Renaissance prominence of nearby Lyon. The château has enjoyed four distinct periods. The first was medieval, when a defensive fortress was built between 1217 and 1221 by Guichard d'Oingt, an ally of the Archbishop of Lyon. The original three round towers, linked by curtain walls with arrow loops, were surrounded by a deep moat whose dug out earth was used for an embankment from which to survey the whole valley. The Basse Cour, or lower courtyard, was where villagers could take refuge in time of need.

The second and most glorious epoch at Bagnols was during the Renaissance. Lyon's commerce and industry, in particular its silk industry, had raised the city to a magnificent position in Renaissance Europe. Huge fortunes were amassed, and the newly rich and ennobled merchants began to buy out the declining medieval lords.

Jean Camus, one of these merchants, a Burgundian importer of almonds, rice and other commodities, rose to be a leading citizen. He helped develop Lyon's silk trade, became an adviser and secretary to the king and married into the aristocracy. Jean bought Bagnols in 1566, the first of three Camus family generations to live there.

The château's third period began in 1711 when it was bought by Joseph-Barthélémy Hessler, a 35-year-old man from Frankfurt who settled in Lyon. Lavishing money on its maintenance and yet more decoration - it took ten years to re-roof it - he removed some of the by now unnecessary fortifications and added an ice-house and the formal garden with its grand terrace. Inside, the Salles des Gardes was redecorated with trompe l'oeil columns framing paintings of the four seasons, all in fashionable 18th-century pale colours with shell and palmette motifs.

By the end of the century, the glory of Bagnols was over. Owners took little interest in the château and the break-up of the estate reduced its income. Bagnols could then be said to have lapsed into obscurity for almost 200 years. The château became a working farm.

It was in 1987 that the present owners discovered Château de Bagnols, a sad but ravishingly beautiful building with leaking roofs, creepers running rampant, cracked walls and a family of crows living in one tower. It was, however, a 'Monument Historique Classe', a building protected by the State for its architectural and historical importance.

With energy and vision, new owners have painstakingly brought the château back to the finest moment of its life - a phoenix-like rebirth.

More than 400 specialist builders and craftsmen rose to the challenge, while hundreds of specially commissioned items made throughout the world complement the private collection of antique furnishings which complete the interior. Raynaud, one of the old French manufacturers in Limoges, made the blue and white armorial china; Hartzviller, in Alsace, made copies of the 18th-century glass; the old Irish firm of Liddell made the table linen; and Prelle of Lyon made the silk to cover the chairs in the dining room. The relaxed atmosphere of being in a private home is complemented by every modern facility.

With its towers, moat, honey-coloured stone known as pierres dorées and entrance across a drawbridge, Bagnols is one of France's major historic monuments. The 21 rooms and suites have been painstakingly restored, revealing wall paintings created during the château's finest period.
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Christine Smith
Aug 26 2007
i would tell any one to go there if they wanted to learn more about one's culture cause that is very interesting and it also looks very laid back and relaxing

Christine Smith
Aug 26 2007
i would tell any one to go there if they wanted to learn more about one's culture cause that is very interesting and it also looks very laid back and relaxing

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Château de Bagnols

Bagnols, France
Prestige Property

Historic Chateau, restored to former glory
Experiences Bling, Romance,

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