diapo chateau flaugergues

The Château

Henri and Brigitte de Colbert are pleased to welcome you and to share their family’s history and their passion for wine and art. The prestigious surroundings of the Chateau of Flaugergues are ideal for your seminars and receptions.

History

colbert family

Built at the end of the XVII century, Flaugergues is one of the so-called 'Follies', built in the countryside around Montpellier. 'Houses in the Foliage', they were the result of a new order of aristocracy, whose wealth came from their service to the King. Planted in the heart of rural domains, they are surrounded by magnificent gardens. They would also become the summer residences of the rich and famous of Montpellier during the XVIII century
In 1696 Etienne de Flaugergues, an advisor to the court of Counts of Montpellier, bought the estate to which he would give his name. Over the next 45 years he expanded and embellished the 'House of the Fields', giving it its distinctive touches. It would seem that the use and arrangement of the grounds around which Flaugergues was built, it's gardens, and the simple but well-groomed quality of the buildings, served as a role model for numerous 'Follies' in the region, these second homes of the Court advisors who wanted to live honourably in the countryside without being too far from the town. In 1811 Flaugergues became a holiday residence for the Boussairolles, owners of a nearby chateau. And so handed down from generation to generation, Flaugergues today bears witness to the way of life of the important people of Montpellier of the time...
And so handed down from generation to generation, Flaugergues today bears witness to the ways of life of the aristocracy of Montpellier from that period...

Architecture

In the style of an 18th century Château

The architecture of the château is impressive not only in the buildings but also in the overall arrangement of space. The exact identity of the architect is unknown, but several theories have been put forward. It is likely that between 1696 and 1730 the management of the chateau and its surroundings was undertaken by a succession of different people.
Thanks to the strong relief on which the original house was built, the architect was able to create neighbouring spaces on different levels, each with their own unique character. Every space, surrounded by walls, hedges, trees and balustrades, provokes curiosity to discover the mysteries contained within the next area.

"…Built in the spirit of the 17th century château, with a meticulous freestone construction, the house offers a monumental image, surprising for a château which in fact reveals itself as a home of great simplicity.
With steps leading up to it, the château rises to three levels, and its principal façade facing the gardens displays no less than seven bays of windows… The walls are concealed by a sandy, almost golden coloured distemper.
At the centre of the façade is the Doric-inspired entrance, its side pillars supporting an entablature with rose sculpted metopes. Once again in the tradition of the 17th century, sober bands with flat mouldings emphasize the different levels. The first floor is designed to be impressive with its windows and cornice which, at either end of the façade, opens onto wrought iron balconies... At the back the building is almost blind, with fake windows maintaining its symmetry.
The roofs, underlined at the base by a cornice, are covered traditionally in Roman tiles. Their crest is marked by ridge sheathing made of varnished terracotta, by the colours yellow and green in the form of vases, and by ornamental balls on projecting capitals (these originate from Saint-Jean-de-Fos).
The whole arrangement gives an impression of nobility, which is accentuated even more by the presence of the sculptures and the wrought iron…"

Extract from "The châteaux of the Bas-Languedoc" by Anne Touzery-Salager

The Staircase, an ambitious work of architecture

It is inside Flaugergues that the real treasure is to be found. Excessive and ostentatious, the staircase takes pride of place, as it does in most of the stately homes of Montpellier - here it occupies almost one third of the total volume of the building!
It is positioned in the middle of the château, goes from the bottom right up to the top and serves every floor.
paIts flight of stairs and landings are suspended by hanging key vaults. Although spectacular, with its fine forged iron 'Cartoi' banisters, it is in fact mismatched with the rest of the building in aesthetic terms; its style harks back to the 17th century, whilst the Château really came to life at the beginning of the next century.

Furniture

A rare collection of Flemish tapestries

tapestries chateau flaugergues

One of the major attractions at Flaugergues is the beautiful range of tapestries. Four works adorn the spacious walls of the stairwell, and a fifth is kept in the library.
Of Flemish origin, they represent 5 events in the life of Moses, and were woven in around 1670 in the workshops of Phillipe Wauters. Several links have been made between these works and artists such as Abraham Von Dienpen berck, Niccolo dell'Abbate and even Sebastien Bourdon.
Restored between 1975 and 1985, these tapestries, with their particularly bright colours, are in a remarkable state of conservation. They were classed as Historic Monuments in 1992.

A Refined Collection

The furniture which is found at Flaugergues was bought during the 18th century for the town houses of advisors to the Court of Counts, who were often collectors of furniture.
Once these houses had been either destroyed or emptied during the French Revolution, the furniture was distributed amongst descendants, and some found its way to Flaugergues, replacing the original and doubtless plain furniture. Items from other ancestors complete the collection.
Notable pieces housed at the Château include :

  • Magnificent furniture from the era of Louis XV and Louis XVI
  • A curious optical device called a 'zograscope', also from the time of Louis XV, used for viewing stereoscopic images
  • A fine series of ceramics.
  • Many other scientific instruments that adorn the library

Parcs and Gardens

garden chateau flaugergues

The gardens have developed over time to cover four hectares. Vines have been cultivated here since Roman times, as shown by the Roman villa at the bottom of the park which can be seen in aerial photographs.
The terraces and the French garden were laid out by Etienne de Flaugergues in 1700. The orangery and the English park were created later in 1850 by Charles Joseph de Boussairolles. A study of the gardens was made in 1997 by students from the school of architecture at Versailles, which prompted the owners to make several improvements to the bamboo, the olive-tree alley, the orangery and its surroundings, and also to create a 'garden of the senses'.

The 'gardens' around the Chateau are currently arranged in 5 different areas :

  • The terrace in front of the Chateau which offers a classic, simple, bare aspect, leaving the business of decor to the architecture and sculptures, among which figure 2 stone statues by Guyon (1726), La Paix ('Peace') and L'Abondance ('Abundance'), positioned either side of the steps.
  • The terrace flowerbed is highly symbolic of the Chateau as a whole. During the 18th century it served as a model around which numerous other flowerbeds of the region were based. It was made into an English style garden in the 19th century. However during the 20th century it was uprooted and the landscape designer Emmanuel de Sauvebeuf created a layout different to that of the 18th century. The current owners, by planting 10,000 box-trees, have committed themselves to this new 'French' flowerbed.
  • The long alleyway known as the Olive Tree Alley, which skirts the west of the Chateau, makes for a fine sight of 400m of box-trees and young olive trees. At the Southern most point of this alley there is a viewpoint giving a spectacular view of the Chateau, as well as of the sea, ponds and the surrounding countryside.
  • The Park is situated to the south-west of the Chateau. It consists of an 'English Garden', a botanical garden created in 1850 with 3 different ideas in mind - floral decoration, exoticism and priority given to the great trees that stretch out over 3 hectares.
  • The Vines, which were situated all around the Flaugergues in the past, are now to be found mostly to the east of the château.
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Contact us

Tel : +33 (0)4 99 526 637

Château de Flaugergues

1744, avenue Albert Einstein

34000 Montpellier - FRANCE

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