The Château de Flaugergues is one of many follies erected by wealthy merchants surrounding the city. The castle preserves antique furniture and collection of Flemish tapestries.
The follies in the region were constructed by aristocrats serving the French king. In 1696, Etienne de Flaugergues, member of the Cour des Comptes, bought a piece of land and built which henceforth carried his name. It took him 45 years to give the existing house its current appearance. From then on, Flaugergues became an example for the various other follies constructed by wealthy merchants surrounding Montpellier.
In 1811, the Boussairolles family bought the estate, and Charles Joseph de Boussairoles designed the orangerie and the park in English garden style in 1850. Inherited by generations of nobles, it still gives an idea of the life of the French nobility in the 17th century.
It is not so much the building itself as the use that is made of the area surrounding it that makes Flaugergues interesting architecturally speaking. The architect is not known, but it is certain that there have been multiple people working on the estate between 1696 and 1730. Much use is made of the difference in terrain level, creating separate spaces within the garden and making the mansion look grander than it in fact is.
The façade is cut in half by a doorway with Doric pilasters, carrying an entablature with rose sculpted metopes. The different levels of the house are emphasized by bands, which was fashionable in the 17th century. The large windows give the first level an air of importance, while the back wall of the building is almost blind.
The most striking part of Flaugergues is the interior, with the staircase taking up almost one-third of it. Every floor is served by this staircase with its characteristic hanging key vaults and forged iron banisters.
Since Roman times, vines have been grown on this spot. A descendant of Jean-Baptiste Colbert now produces the Flaugergues wine.References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.