One of the highlights of the walk along the Burgundy Canal is a visit to the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc
Set amongst 123 acres of parkland, only 650 metres from the canal, the château is one of the earliest, and still considered one of the best, examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in France.
The château was designed and built in the 1540s by the Italian architect Sébastiano Serlio for Antoine III de Clermont and remained in the Clermont-Tonnerre family until 1683. One year later, the new owner – the Marquis de Louvois – added a French style garden designed by Le Notre (of Versailles fame) but in 1759, one of his descendants, the Marquis de Courtanvaux, had the gardens transformed into the current English style, adding an artificial lake, complete with a small island and folly where the family could relax and entertain friends.
The Clermont-Tonnerre family regained ownership of the château in 1844 but it has changed hands several times since then. Today it is owned by a Paris company dedicated to restoring the château and the grounds to their original glory but disruption during your visit will be minimal with only one or two rooms out of bounds.
Guided visits of the château are held every hour but an audio guide (available in many languages) will allow you to explore at your own pace.
The guide will take you through the chapel; the rooms set aside specifically to accommodate a visit by the king; the favourite room of Madame de Sévigné (whose published letters give a glimpse into the politics and daily life of the 17th century nobility in France) as well as providing fascinating insight to such details as how the rooms were heated in the days before electricity. All the rooms are richly decorated with murals, sculptures and furnishings typical of the time.
If you have time, allow at least an hour to explore the château and another hour to wander through the parkland before returning to the canal.
If you can’t make it in person, click this link and take a virtual tour of the château
Which walk is it on? The Burgundy Canal from Migennes to Pouilly-en-Auxois
Where is it? Link here to the Google map
Distance from the previous village of Lézinnes: 7.8 kilometres
Market day: Thursday morning
Accommodation is available at:
Hostellerie du Centre
Le Moulin Neuf (8 rooms, 23 people)
Municipal camping (30 sites)
Where else will you visit on the walk along the Burgundy Canal?