George Sand and the extraordinary château de Boussac
Highly-committed in her struggle for equality between men and women, George Sand marked her era through her political engagements, but remained nevertheless a romantic. It was she who launched the masculine trend by wearing trousers and a frock coat. She defended women's rights for independence and freedom, and adopted the pseudonym George Sand to earn a living as a writer.
George Sand liked to get away to Creuse in the château de Boussac (12th and 15th centuries), near her native region of the Berry. It was the writer’s favourite romantic holiday place and no surprise that she situated the plot of her novel Jeanne in the Château de Boussac and the Pierres Jaumâtres.
She stayed in the château de Boussac for the first time in 1841 accompanied by Prosper Mérimée, with whom she discovered the Unicorn Tapisteries exhibited in the Cluny museum in Paris. Then she returned with Chopin, one of the big loves of her life.
Today the castle can be visited allowing you to travel back in time back down the centuries.
The highpoint of the visit has to be George Sand's bedroom. Elegantly decorated, you can almost feel the presence of the author thanks to the remarkable decorating: an open book, slippers at the end of the bed, hair slide placed on the bedside table, fan, glass of water...
The castle visit is fascinating, dotted with superb collections compiled by Madame Blondeau, the owner: moneyboxes presented in a pyramid, 350 walking sticks, travel cases, fruit-shaped china, superb Aubusson tapestries, not forgetting her extremely harmonious flower arrangements. The château conceals many a hidden treasure. As George Sand used to say "We are won over by Boussac!".
Madame Blondeau has a genuine passion for château de Boussac, which she bought at the age of twenty, and for George Sand, "my husband and I found ourselves in front of the castle, all the doors and windows had disappeared, we fell in love with the place on the spot and decided to buy it. This castle is my entire life, everything I do is for it". No doubt about it!
An original walk: the Pierres Jaumâtres.
This walk will take you to the top of Mont Barlot in the region of Toulx-Sainte-Croix. Here you'll discover some enormous blocks of granite that rise up in an astonishing balancing act. George Sand used to go there regularly in company with Chopin (perched on his donkey). For the author, these were festive stones where she used to organise big picnics.
Locally: the Pierres Jaumâtres trail (10km).
une autre balade : la vallée des peintres
George Sand had another favourite walk: Crozant and the impressive landscapes of the "Painters Valley". The painters trail provides a 3.5km walk, perfect for families and an invitation to discover the history of 19th century impressionist painters who came to Crozant. Landscapes by Claude Monet, Armand Guillaumin, Francis Picabia, among others, immortalised the confluence of the deux Creuse and the banks of the Sédelle.
When she discovered Crozant, on the edge of the Creuse, George Sand was overwhelmed and delighted by the wild beauty of the countryside. "Everything fires the imagination... everything grips the heart", said George Sand. This landscape is "so rich that the painter doesn't know where to stop", she also said.