The chateau apartments

The "Gilded Rooms", an exemplary splendor

The "Gilded Rooms", created in 1627-1628, are "a major source of our knowledge of French decor in the first half of the seventeenth century" (Alain Mérot).
The quality of the owners, close to the Queen Mother Marie de Medicis and the circles of Parisian Preciousness, give these apartments an exemplary character, and they can evoke the vanished splendor of Paris hotels in the Marais or Louvre quarter.

The apartment of the Marquise

The apartment of the Marquise d'Huxelles has preserved the layout usual at the time among high nobility: in order of increasing intimacy, one moves from the antechamber to the bedchamber, then to the cabinet.

The Antechamber
The antechamber is the public room, a sort of "gateway office" through which people of quality passed and where people of lower rank waited. One received visitors there only on days of balls and banquets.
In France, it is the only large room from the time to have kept the "high panelling" covering all the walls.
Above the fireplace, in a frame of military trophies, the young King Louis XIII prances in front of the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris.
The antichamber of the Marquise
The antichamber of the Marquise

Louis XIII before Paris
Louis XIII before Paris

The Marquise's bedchamber

This is the main room of an apartment,the place for socializing, where your familiars have free access: you sleep, receive visitors and take meals there. The ceiling "à la française" is magnificent, with its painted beams in blue lapis lazuli, its ornamentation in white and gold relief and its flowers in bouquets and baskets. The fireplace, by its scale, evokes the reredos of a Baroque church. It is decorated with a painting "Venus ordering arms for Aeneas from Vulcan" painted before 1626 by Quentin Varin, court painter to Queen Marie de Medicis, and brought to Cormatin in April 1627.

Two siderooms complement these formal chambers, a cabinet for privacy and comfort and a dressing room for the maid service. We can thus understand the organization of daily life in Cormatin in the seventeenth century, a time when public and private were just beginning to be differentiated.
The ceiling of the Marquise's bedchamber
The ceiling of the Marquise's bedchamber

A bunch of flowers on the walls of the bedchamber
A bunch of flowers on the walls of the bedchamber


The connection between the apartments of the Marquise and her husband, Jacques du Blé, is made by two rooms, designed as display spaces for privileged guests: a hall of mirrors and the cabinet of St. Cecilia.

The hall of mirrors

This is a rare example of these "rooms of marvels" or "cabinets of curiosities', so common in Europe in the early seventeenth century. Here were gathered, without scientific sense but to stimulate symbolic reflection, exotic or strange objects, shells, stuffed animals, minerals, bronzes, etc..
The coffered ceiling decorated with cherubs flying in the sky is one of the oldest examples of the introduction into France of this Italian fashion, brought to the Luxembourg Palace in 1625-26 by Orazio Gentileschi.
Above the fireplace is the owner, Jacques du Blé, called at the Court "the Redhead of The Queen."
The hall of mirrors
The hall of mirrors

The cabinet of Saint Cecilia

The cabinet of the Marquis or "Cabinet of St. Cecilia" is the glory of Cormatin (3 stars in the Michelin guide for Burgundy). This "studiolo" is certainly the most luxurious and best preserved room in France from the early seventeenth century. The decorative profusion gave birth, "in the shining glimmer of gold, one of those 'enchantments', dear to the Precious, before which reason must admit defeat "(A. Mérot).
Every detail is painted with great delicacy, especially the flowers and fruit, reflecting the Flemish origin of the painters, who realised this decor in 1625.
A programmme of symbolism brings together the many motifs. It celebrates the regeneration of the soul thanks to the mystical Wheat (= Blé - an allusion to the family name), to the virtues and to Harmony personified by Saint Cecilia.
The cabinet of St. Cecilia
The cabinet of St. Cecilia

The Kitchen

In the revolutionary period, the antichamber of the Marquis became the kitchen when the owner lived alone with her six children. The room kept this role until 1950. It has remained in that state, with its cooking range (open fires for simmering), its grand fireplace with spit, its bell panels, etc..
The kitchen with massive fireplace
The kitchen with massive fireplace

The Bedchamber of the Marquis

In the time of Jacques du Blé, this room was hung with tapestries on the theme of the Labours of Hercules. One can see there today a suberb Brussels tapestry representing Meleager setting out for a boar hunt with Atalanta and receiving help from Castor and Pollux (1658). It was the painter Charles Le Brun who created the eight paintings of the story of Meleager, transposed into tapestries at the command of the superintendent of finances, Nicolas Fouquet.
On the walls of the room there are also hung 10 paintings (late 17th century, attributed to Stradanus) representing the Roman emperors on horseback.
They have an illustrious provenance, having been part of the collection of the Gonzagues of Mantua. They were given to the widow of Jacques du Blé by the Duke of Mantua, Charles de Gonzagues-Nevers, for services rendered by her husband during the war of succession and the military campaign of Montferrato (1628).
Meleager's Hunt  - Brussels tapestry
Meleager's Hunt - Brussels tapestry

The C19th rooms

At the end of the nineteenth century, the owner was Raoul Gunsbourg, Director of the Monte Carlo. He restored the chateau while respecting the seventeenth century decor. However, he amused himself designing apartments for guests in parts of the chateau that had no decoration. Very eclectic and whimsical in his choice, he created ambiances which were Roman, Louis XIV, Renaissance, Gothic, Byzantine, etc.. He did not hesitate to break up old furniture to compose fireplaces, cabinets or buffets in the style chosen ...

Upstairs, the Library allows one to evoke the famous singers and composers who stayed at Cormatin during the summers of the Belle Epoque, Caruso, Chaliapine, Litvin, Jules Massenet, etc..
The large painting "Ronde antique" by Feyen-Perrin was exhibited at the Salon des Beaux-Arts in 1863. Gunsbourg acquired it in Paris around 1910 and Matisse would have seen it shortly before, when he was developing his painting "The Dance" (1909).
The "Ronde Antique" in the Library

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