Margaret of Flanders in Germolles: the duchess' porcupines and thistles

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Aerial view - ©Christian Degrigny / CC0 Aerial view - ©Christian Degrigny / CC0
Germolles castle Castle Festivities Margaret III of Flanders

Worthy of a duchess!

The cloux Germolles

Germolles was a big farm in the 12th century. We even found renowned vineyards, the cloux Germolles! Hey, we’re in Burgundy, after all… From September 1381, the duchess of Burgundy Marguerite of Flanders owned the land: the previous lord sold it to Philibert Paillard, bailiff in Dijon in 1378.

Then, in 1383, this one sold it to the duchess. Aaah, she loved Germolles! Her first husband, Philippe of Rouvres, only let her castles of Montbard, Rouvres, Talant, in Burgundy… but they didn’t really belong to her. Germolles was like her Little Trianon before the time!

Hey, pretty uncomfortable!

Architect Drouet de Dammartin raised the castle: he already took part of the Louvre’s building works, in Paris. Stables were cleaned: like this, master Robin Picquet, the stone carver, could take shelter in case of rain! The duchess settled with her kids in the former dwelling house, to keep an eye on the work. Pretty uncomfortable, but Marguerite didn’t care. She even fit out a steam-room, like in the ducal palace in Dijon!

The nicest court

Thistles and daisies

She called the best artists of the Burgundian court, for the inner decoration: Claus Sluter, Jean de Baumetz, Jean de Marville… This decoration used to be gorgeous: a painter named Arnould Picornet made it. He painted 200 ewes in a room. In another one, thistles and white P and M (for Philip and Marguerite). We also found white and red roses with daisies (Marguerite mean ″daisy″ in French)...

Porcupine and cherries

The duchess asked her husband if she could host the king of France, Charles VI… the thing happened in February 1390! Whoa, what a lovely party! And in the meantime, Marguerite pretended she was a farmer: she raised cows and sheeps, with all her doggies, her porcupine and all her little exotic birds! They also cultivated fruits and vegetables, including the famous cherries, planted in 1386!

Nice remains!

The duchess died in 1405, letting his estate to her son John the Fearless. But he neglected it, and Germolles was abandoned… and to cap it all, a fire partially destroyed it at the end of the 19th century: today, only remains the main building, the chapel and the small entrance castle.

The visit of Germolles

We enter by the small castle. Then, here’s the farmyard where we still can see sir de Mollencourt’s house, Marguerite of Flanders’ steward! Then, the chapels, and we enter in the castle: we discover Marguerite’s wardrobe with its painted walls, the kitchen, a room with a nice chimney made by Claus Sluter… Don’t miss the park created in the 19th century on the location of Marguerite’s former rose garden!