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With a Mansart-style roof and ornate pediment, the main house seems to reign over this walled estate like the proud guardian of a distant past. The five buildings of the resort as well as the open rooms in the chateau invite guests to travel through different worlds with a diverse range of architecture, eras and styles. It is not so much the dimensions or the space, nor even the “mini Versailles” style of the property that strikes the imagination, but the promise of an abundance of pleasures: strolling along the banks of the Yonne, partying until dawn, yoga sessions or large family meals. To this day, the Château de Saulce perpetuates the lord-like spirit of its origins.
The entire property is listed as a Historic Monument and is a truly timeless place that embodies all the treasures of Burgundy - an immense architectural and historical heritage, wine and nature. It's a unique quality of life that we find here, just two hours from Paris. This "mini Versailles" in the heart of nature enchanted us when we first laid eyes on it fifteen years ago, we are touched by the magic it still exerts with our visitors.
The estate consists of a large and a small commandery of a barn, a dovecote, an orangery, a greenhouse, a kennel and a Trianon. It is full of a multitude of small curiosities, such as hidden passages, and penciled messages from officers or servants of yesteryear. The Trianon (the most remarkable building) is an architectural, acoustic and artistic wonder, built around 1770, at the end of the Louis XV's reign and at the end of the long stay of the bailiff of Champignelles. When it was first created, it was a music pavilion, but also a private place as the original key, still preserved to this day, is pierced with a heart. The north side is decorated with nautical themed objects and features a compass, a sextant, an armillary sphere and even some very beautiful coral. Surrounded by garlands of refined flowers, they are topped with painted oval medallions containing busts. The exterior facades are no less remarkable, four sculpted busts echo the medallions of the interior and present three pretty women who were most probably close to the bailiff of Champignelles, and a man who is perhaps one of the former great masters of the order of Malta. Further up, just under the ledge, are relief sculptures on all sides, including the coat of arms of the Champignelles family on the north side. Under the Trianon, there is an old ice house - rare for France - at the end of a semi-burried corridor. The enormous grooved stones for the slow melting of the large blocks of ice are still visible.
In 1216, the constable Dreux de Mello gave his Maison du Saulce to the brothers of the temple, the famous Templars. These soldier-monks, members of the Order of the Temple founded in 1119 in Jerusalem, were knights whose mission was to protect the Christians who had left on a crusade. They founded what would become one of the most important commanderies of the Templars from 1314 to 1795 and one of the most important commanderies of the Order of Malta at the Domaine du Saulce. For several centuries, the noblest knights succeeded each other and led the religious, military and eventually hospitaller orders. In 1755, the captain of King Louis XV's guards, Jacques Armand de Lusignan de Champignelles, settled here to create his own "mini Versailles". The trianon, fountains, a maze and a French garden took over the area. Nothing was too good for this descendant of the Mélusine fairy!
The Domaine du Saulce has been set up for the arts and leisure, and not as a place of performance. Staying here means reliving its history. This gives it a special charm and a feeling of intimacy and friendliness. Why not take a canoe trip on the Yonne which passes through the park? Or you might prefer practising music theory in the Petit Trianon. The many small lounges, ornaments and walking paths are perfect for conversations. In order to maintain this spirit and enhance it with modern comfort, we offer our guests canoes, a sauna and a large swimming pool. The estate has been classified as a "remarkable garden" and is planted with centuries-old trees. Alleys of white mock oranges are dotted everywhere and fill the park with perfume in the spring. Many truffles nestle beneath the old trees and are easy for truffle dogs to find.
Less than five minutes from the estate is the Gallo-Roman and Merovingian site of Escolives-Sainte-Camille, where you can admire the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa from the 1st century as well as its thermal baths. The exhibition of modern Pierre Merlier sculptures, whose workshop adjoins our estate. The Borgnat wine cellars and the wine-making activities - discovering the vine and wine tastings. Les Tilleuls is a pretty restaurant at the water's edge in Vincelottes, just three kilometres away. Just a few minutes away is the town of Auxerre and the farmers' markets. It’s always a pleasure to go there on summer mornings.