We had our best year ever for finding trees planted by the Duke of Sully. We saw 10 of them and 5 were ones we hadn’t known about before.
This is the story of one of them.
We stayed at Baume-les-Messieurs in the Jura. It’s a beautiful place, in a narrow valley with rocky peaks on either side Just North of Baume is the wine village of Chateau-Chalon where vineyards stretch up to the village on the hilltop. Above is a photo of a fairly modern reproduction of a nineteenth century copy of an eighteen century plan of the defunct abbey at Chateau-Chalon. It was hanging in an obscure corner of the abbey porch, now the village gateway. You can just see an octagonal enclosure outside the church graveyard with “Le Sully” in it. That was our only clue that there might be a Sully tree here that we hadn’t known about.
In the space indicated was an old lime tree but no plaque. About 50 metres away was the Information Centre so we went there and asked about it. I find the next bit difficult to believe even while I’m typing it. The lady in charge of this Information Centre didn’t even know how to spell “Sully” and had no idea of what was within a few metres of her.
I mentioned it was a wine village. There were lots of wine caves offering degustation so we looked around for one that seemed to be an old family concern. It was a picturesque cave with wine implements from past decades displayed everywhere. A lovely lady served us and lectured us about two bottles we bought. I cautiously broached the subject of that lime tree near the church and she became full of enthusiasm. Yes, it was a tree planted by the Duke of Sully- oh more than 400 years ago. We discussed his trees for a little time!
This information does not exist as far as the Tourist people are concerned. Nor is it mentioned in anything produced by the village. It survives only in folk memories of older people whose families have lived there for generations. (Photo of the tree in the photo gallery)