The lady who didn't recognize her castle
Until the beginning of the 16th century, we found here an old square fortress flanked by big towers and a keep, a drawbridge and ditches. Cardinal de Givry shared the estate with his brother, lord de Fontaine: he restored the castle who went in ruins.
Centuries later, Anne de la Tour du Pin inherited the fief, in the middle of the 18th century; then she married the very wealthy François de St-Julien, King's councillor.
This man put the Parisian architect Souhard in charge of the construction of the current castle, between 1754 and 1758, on the foundations of the former fortress.
Her wife was very sad when she heard her husband had destroyed her family's castle! In fact, she didn't know anything of her husband project: one day, as she came back from Paris without warning, she came across the building site... horrified by her husband's vandalism, she left again to Paris and she took years and years to accustom to the new castle!
Anyway, the new building was a real masterpiece: a 1783 book said: "Fontaine-Française, country house which belongs to Mr de Saint-Julien, where art, good taste and opulence make a delightful place. Gardens are vast and well-designed..."
Mr. de Saint-Julien knew every enlightened minds of that time, Voltaire, Madame de Staël... they often came in Fontaine-Française. The owner started to embellish the area around the castle and marked roads to Dijon or Paris! Then in 1760 he asked architect Nicole to raise a "little castle", outhouses.