Roughly 9 kilometers from the mooring in Venarey-les-Laumes is Château de Bussy-Rabutin. It is reachable by bike, as are several other notable destinations in the area. We missed this one when Wanderlust transited the Canal de Bourgogne in 2016 and only found it by chance later in August of 2018 when we visited the area by car.
Surrounded by a moat, the small attractive Château de Bussy-Rabutin is situated up the hill in a forested drainage above the village of Bussy-le-Grand. The back-story of the château is interesting. Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy from 1618–1693, was disgraced for supposedly having taken part in an orgy at the Château de Roissy, near Paris, during Holy Week. Bussy was ordered by King Louis XIV to retire to his estates.
With time away from court Bussy developed a hobby: He composed his “Histoire amoureuse des Gaules”. This account of various courtly love affairs caused him greater scandal and eventually caused him to be sent to the Bastille in 1665. Bussy was held in prison for more than a year. When he was finally released it was on the condition that he retired once more to Bussy-Rabutin. The château is an enormous step up from the Bastille. But certainly a man like Bussy must have found even this gilded cage confining.
Today the château is open to visitors most days during the year. Though it is out of the way in rural Burgundy it was quite popular when we visited. The grounds and gardens are extensive and beautiful. Inside the living areas have the typical layout of a French château. Most notable are the picture galleries, which provide a brief glimpse into the era and into the Comte de Bussy’s life.