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Dating from the 13th century the Chateau de Bagnols Hotel is set among vineyards, forests and green hills in the heart of the Beaujolais countryside in south eastern France.With its towers, moat , honey coloured stone known as Pierre Doree and entrance across a drawbridge, Chateau de Bagnols Hotel is one of France's major Historic monuments.
Chateau de Bagnols Hotel offers both the experience of being a cherished guest in historic, luxurious and relaxing surroundings as well as an ideal Venue for conferences and product launches of the most select and exclusive nature.
Château de Bagnols across the centuries
The history of the Château, a listed historical building, can be traced through its architecture: the moat and mediaeval towers and fortifications reveal its thirteenth century origins.
The harmony of the courtyard with its golden paving stones, the classical proportions and the exquisite wall paintings are a legacy from the Renaissance. The arms of the de Balzac family, one of the former owners of the Château, have become the arms of the present day Château de Bagnols: “a silver helmet with three stars of gold”.
At the dawn of the sixteenth century the Château has already had several owners, the lords of Oingt, the lords of Albon, the lords of Balzac, until it is sold to the Camus family, rich merchants from Lyon.
As a supreme honour, on 30th October 1490, Charles V111 of France visited Château de Bagnols and to commemorate this event a crown was carved in the stone fireplace in the Salle des Gardes. During this troubled period of wars there were no significant alterations to the Château.
In 1619 Gaspard Dugué, the Treasurer of France, acquired the Château de Bagnols and transformed it from a fortress into a gracious country residence. He constructed the outbuildings and the garden, removed the drawbridge and decorated the rooms with wall-paintings and tapestries. It was during this time that Madame de Sevigné, a friend of the Dugué family, stayed at Bagnols. She mentioned her visit in her famous correspondence.
In 1711, the widow of Gaspard Dugué’s grandson sold the Château to Barthelemy Hesseler. During the 18th century the tax on windows was abolished and numerous bay windows were added to the Château in what was to become its heyday.
At this time Lyon, situated at the crossroads of the great European cities, was famous for its silk manufacturers. The work of the silk weavers of Lyon inspired several Italian artists, hence the Italian influence in the decoration of some of the rooms in the Château.
There were also many itinerant artists and painters who came to offer their services at the Château de Bagnols, which explains the great diversity and richness of the wall-paintings.
The French Revolution saw the demise of many great houses, but once again Bagnols survived. The Salle des Gardes, today the Château’s restaurant, was a meeting place for some revolutionaries. The partial destruction of the three “fleur de lys”, symbol of French royalty, on the top of the fireplace in the Salle des Gardes, is the lasting reminder of their presence.
The Château was sealed off in 1793 because its owner, Georges Marie Giraud, was arrested and imprisoned at Anse, accused of being an opponent of the French Revolution.
The following year the Château was purchased by Claude Marie Chavanis, which explains the influence of the “Empire” style which was very fashionable at that time. The cultivation of wines in the area surrounding the Château was developed to the extent that Bagnols became a”wine-growing estate” in the nineteenth century.
The Morand de Jouffray, the du Chevalard and the de Chavanes families subsequently all made their contribution to the Château, both historically and architecturally.
The passion and dedication of Lord and Lady Hamlyn, who acquired the Château in 1987, enabled the transformation of the Château, after four years of painstaking restoration, into the unique hotel it is today.
Since then, the Château has been restored to its former glory and offers its clients a unique journey through the history of France.