Château d’Ampuis

One of the jewels of the Renaissance, overlooking the Rhône River and surrounded by grapevines in the heart of the Côte-Rôtie appellation.

The Château d’Ampuis is a fort that has been occupied since Roman times, as shown by the remains of mosaics and amphorae found in the gardens in front of the main building. Ancient texts refer to the luxurious Villa d’Ampucius.

The history of the Château d’Ampuis and its village begins in the 11th century with the lord of the manor: Pierre d’Ampuy. It is at this time that the destruction of the first Château d’Ampuis was recorded. Known as the Upper Castle, it was located in the “La Garde” area at the top of the Côte-Rôtie vineyards (this is the part of the vineyard that today produces the Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis!). There are also some remains of the original château, or Lower Castle, built along the Rhône: these are none other than the two towers of the current Château d’Ampuis.

For nearly three centuries thereafter, the Marquisate of Maugiron would give the château its imposing bearing and its nobility. The château was visited by several Kings of France, including Francis I and Henry III, the latter of whom stayed many times in the château. It was at this time that the château took on its current Renaissance style of architecture. The Marquis de Maugiron extended the château from the two towers and constructed several outbuildings such as the chapel, orangery, prison and stables, where the new cooperage at Domaine Guigal is now located.

The renowned marquis was also the originator of the legend about the “côte blonde” and the “côte brune”, a lovely story that definitively links the Château d’Ampuis to the history of Côte-Rôtie wines.

Amongst the numerous anecdotes that dot the history of this château, it seems that the first turkey imported directly from the Americas was brought here. Today turkey is the traditional Christmas Eve dinner for all French families.

It was then the Harenc de la Condamine family, the Counts of Cibeins and the Fustier - Roche des Breux families who brought the Château d’Ampuis into the 20th century.

The Guigal Family

In 1995, the Guigal family purchased the Château d’Ampuis and that same year, the entire site – both the buildings and the gardens – was added to the supplementary list of French Historical Monuments.

Thus began an ambitious restoration programme in the spirit of the Venice Charter. The masonry on the edifice has been consolidated; the structure, roofs and floors have been restored; and the interior furnishings have been repaired or refurbished. Most of this extensive renovation was completed in the summer of 2003. Renovation work on the Le Notre-designed gardens was then begun in the late spring of 2004.

In magical places, dreams can sometimes make reality even more lovely.