Unlike most aristocrats who heeded the royal summons to live at Versailles and fled the countryside, the Marquis and Marquise de Tanlay opted to live here among their village retainers. As a result, the Château de Tanlay, built around 1550, never fell into neglect and is a masterpiece of early French Baroque. Spectacularly adorned with rusticated obelisks, pagoda-like towers, the finest in French Classicist ornamentation, and a "grand canal," the château is centered around a typical cour d'honneur. Inside, the Hall of Caesars vestibule, framed by wrought-iron railings, leads to a wood-panel salon and dining room filled with period furniture. A graceful staircase climbs to the second floor, which has the showstopper: a gigantic gallery frescoed in Italianate trompe l'oeil. A small room in the tower above was used as a secret meeting place by Huguenot Protestants during the 1562–98 Wars of Religion; note the cupola with its fresco of scantily clad 16th-century religious personalities.
Tanlay, 89430, France