Henri and Brigitte de Colbert, their son Pierre and his wife Marie are pleased to welcome you and to share their family history and their passion for wine and art. The prestigious surroundings of the Château of Flaugergues are ideal for your seminars and receptions.
Built at the end of the 17th century, Flaugergues is one of the so-called 'Folies', 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 18th century.
In 1696 Etienne de Flaugergues, an advisor to the Cour des Comptes (national audit office) in Montpellier, bought the estate to which he would give his name. Over the next 45 years he expanded and embellished the 'House in the Fields', giving it its distinctive touches. It would seem that the use and arrangement of the grounds around which Flaugergues was built, its gardens, and the simple but well-groomed quality of the buildings, served as a role model for numerous 'Folies' in the area, these second homes of the Court advisors who wanted to live comfortably in the countryside without being too far from the town.
In 1811 Flaugergues became a holiday residence for the Boussairolles, owners of a nearby château. 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.
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 refurbishment of the château 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 its 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 to be a home of great simplicity and very slight depth. With steps leading up to a wide terrace, the château rises to three levels, and its principal façade facing the gardens displays no fewer than seven bays of windows. The walls are painted with a sandy, almost golden-coloured whitewash. At the centre of the façade is the Doric-inspired entrance, its lateral pilasters supporting an entablature with sculpted rose metopes. Once again in the tradition of the 17th century, sober string courses with flat mouldings emphasize the different levels. The first floor is designed to be the principal one, with its windows embellished with dripstones; at either end of the façade, the windows open onto wrought iron balconies supported by quinches... At the back the building is almost blind, with false windows maintaining the symmetry. The roofs, underlined at the base by a cornice, are covered in traditional Roman tiles. Their crest is marked by ridge sheathing made of varnished terracotta in the form of vases, in colours of yellow and green, and by ornamental balls on plinths (these originate from Saint-Jean-de-Fos). The whole structure gives an impression of nobility…"Extract from "The châteaux of the Bas-Languedoc" by Anne Touzery-Salager
It is inside that the real treasure of Flaugergues is to be found. Outsized, even ostentatious in its dimensions, the staircase takes pride of place, as it does in most of the stately homes of Montpellier: here it occupies almost a quarter of the total volume of the building! It occupies the entire central bay of the château, going from the bottom right up to the top and serving every floor. The flights and landings are suspended and supported by hanging key vaults. Although spectacular, with its fine wrought 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 was virtually born in the beginning of the next century.
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 five 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 Dienpenberck, 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 classified as Historic Monuments in 1992.
The furniture found at Flaugergues was bought during the 18th century for the town houses of counsellors at the Cour de Comptes, who were often collectors of furniture.
Once these houses had been either destroyed or emptied during the French Revolution or periods of urban reconstruction, 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:
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 gardens and park are classified Monuments Historiques, and were awarded the label Jardins Remarquables in 2004.
The terraces and the French garden were laid out by Etienne de Flaugergues in 1700. The orangery and the English park were created 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 plantations, the olive-tree alley, the orangery and its surroundings, and also to create a ''garden of the senses''.
The "gardens" around the château are currently arranged in five different areas:
Enjoy a stroll in the garden on your own. Each step leads to a new universe of plants: classic, romantic, Italian, Mediterranean, etc. You will also find different types of citrus, bamboos, palm trees, a majestic alley, a charming orangery and more. Take your time to discover this greenery of three hectares including the terrace decorated with elegant statuary and vases of stone, the parterre of boxwood, and of course the benches waiting for you if you want to take a rest. For those who are curious, an audio-guide is provided!
Château of Flaugergues is opening a new area, in the spirit of its remarkable garden and vines: the Oasis of Flaugergues. This urban-farm, where teamwork is welcome, is directed by the association Oasis Citadine. It will be grown by the members of the association and with the help of licensed professionals and permaculture experts. This 4000m2 vegetable garden will be planted following an agro-ecological model suited to Mediterranean climate and in line with the historical heritage of Flaugergues. An experience to live with friends, with family… after becoming a member. Visitors of the castle will soon discover this vegetable garden during their guided tour of the garden. Companies will be invited to participate to “green thumb workshops”.
The Oasis of Flaugergues is located in the area dedicated to wine-tourism imagined by the Vinofolia Project, creating a link between the garden, the 2,5 hectares of young white vines (marsanne, roussane and White Grenache) and the new ecological cellar. On the edge of the vegetable garden, a syrah vine will be the exclusivity of Flaugergues Oasis. Every member will be able to learn more about vine-pruning and how to harvest grapes.
You can browse the virtual tour of the château, its park and gardensAccess virtual tour
Visits to the Château de Flaugergues are organized along a journey through beauty in different forms. Brigitte and Henri de Colbert have received several national awards for their restoration work and awards for the quality of their welcome: