Mme de Sévigné in Epoisses: feast with Burgundy wines
From hand to hand
The current castle dates back to the 10th century! At that time, it was dukes of Burgundy’s main residence, before Epoisses fell for one century to the Mello family.
Then in the 14th and 15th c. it was entirely altered: they only kept one tower from the primitive fortress, and raised an octagon flanked by ditches.
Occupied by Catholics during wars of Religion, Epoisses was restored by its new owner, Louis d'Aussienville, in the 17th century.
By marriage, the castle fell to the Pechpeyrou de Guitaut: we were in the middle of the 17th c., the nicest era for Epoisses!
The marquise de Sévigné
We were now in the 17th century… here was the most famous marquise, madame de Sévigné! Her fief was the castle of Bourbilly, near Epoisses.
Bourbilly was Epoisses’ vassal, so she called Guitaud, the owner, “my dear lord”. She even thought she was “his very humble subject” and called him “lord of all the country”…
But what about the castle? The marquise wrote: Cette maison est d’une grandeur et d’une beauté surprenantes. M. de Guitaut se divertit fort à la faire ajuster et y dépense bien de l’argent. Il se trouve heureux de n’avoir point d’autre dépense à faire ; je plains ceux qui ne peuvent pas se donner ce plaisir..., “This house is so amazing and beautiful. Mr. de Guitaut spent for it lot of money. But he has no other expenses to do, so he’s happy: I feel sorry for those who can’t have that kind of pleasure…”
Each time, they welcomed the marquise and it was a great part: Il (de Guitaut, ndlr) ne sait quelle chère me faire... Ils sont si longtemps à table que, par contenance, on boit et puis on boit encore, et on se trouve avec une gaieté extraordinaire., “Here we drink and we drink again, and we feel so merry!” They drank good wines from Burgundy, of course! Wines that the marquise brought back, after, in her cellars in Paris…
The visit of Epoisses
We enter in the courtyard and discover a huge dovecote and the pretty well. Inside, beautiful living rooms with gorgeous furnitures, with several souvenirs given by hosts: dukes of Burgundy, prince of Condé, Mrs. de Sévigné…
In the marquise’s bedroom, she wrote those words on the ceiling: Nos plaisirs ne sont qu'apparences Et souvent se cachent nos pleurs Sous l’éclat de ces belles fleurs Qui ne sont que vaine espérance. (“Our pleasures are only fake, and our tears hide behind nice flowers, which are only vain expectations”)