My Travel Blog

The Many Chateaux of Burgundy – Sully, Couches and Cormatin

Chateaux, they’re everywhere.  Burgundy must have been infected with a terrible plague of oversized egos.  These epic homes were never built as just a nice place to live in the summer. It was said, “it is the chateau that makes the nobleman.”  It was all about bragging rights. Mine is bigger and better than yours.  Apparently men haven’t changed much.  The only difference is that now when we brag about how big it is.  It’s on a completely different scale and subject.  Of course our beloved women know we’re all lying, or should I say stretching the truth.

“Sunset while enjoying dinner on deck.”

I had no idea how many chateaux there were in Burgundy.  After visiting Chateau de Rully, Lisa and I along with Jerry and Arlene visited two more chateaux and then Lisa and I continued on to another one.  Each chateau is different, and has its own feel.  If there was a common thread it’s that if the original family still owns the chateau they are having a tough time holding on to it.  Some are doing better than others, but the expense to maintain these huge homes, built hundreds of years ago must be enormous.  Can you imagine what the heating bill alone must be?

Our next stop was Chateau de Sully.  The main house was surrounded by a moat, so that automatically made it cool.  You don’t rate unless you’ve got a moat.  In fact I’m trying to figure out how to put a moat around Chez Miller back in California in hopes that it will become Chateau de Miller.  Though I’m not sure the homeowners association will go for it.  I probably shouldn’t mention the alligators.  The exterior architecture of the chateau was beautiful, but the inside could use a new paint job and the furniture needed recovering.

“Chateau de Sully.”

“Another view of Chateau de Sully.”

After Chateau de Sully we visited Chateau de Couches.  Once again it was completely different from the other two chateaux we visited.  Chateau de Couches was started in the 12th century, and stands on a rock outcrop looking over a beautiful valley of grape vineyards.  It’s made up of a number of smaller buildings connected by underground tunnels. There wasn’t a lot of furniture inside, but it was still well worth the visit.

“Chateau de Couches.”

“One of the tunnels at Chateau de Couches.”

Lisa and I continued on to Chateau de Cormatin.  Unlike the other chateaux the original family no longer owns Cormatin.  The current owners have put a small fortune into this magnificent edifice.  They have done everything from digging out the moat to replacing the worn gold leaf on the interior.  The rooms are far from move in condition, but they are still beautiful and give you a good idea of what life was like for the ridiculously wealthy back in the 17th century. We learned that meals were typically served to the owner in his bedroom.  It was not uncommon for a number of family members to sleep in the same bedroom, despite living in a home with thousands of square feet.

“Lisa standing in front of Chateau de Cormatin.”

“A reading room in Chateau de Cormatin.”

“A bedroom in Chateau de Cormatin.”

“Madame’s privy.”

“Lots of gold leaf.”

“Madame’s bedroom.”

“The kitchen.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.