This week the team at Château de Pommard is abuzz with excitement for Halloween, or “Hallowine” as it’s affectionately known in the wine trade. French Châteaux are renowned for being haunted. From the “White Lady” at Château Puymartin, in the Dordogne, to the ghosts of war soldiers floating about Bordeaux’s Château Lagorce. Even some of the most spooktacular terms – séance, clairvoyant, and déjà vu – originate in French.
The two châteaux, Château Micault, built in 1726 and Château Marey-Monge, built in 1802, plus the grounds of Château de Pommard can be a haunting and bewitching place, especially at night-time. The World War history, the unexplainable bumps-in-the-night, the bats, the historic nooks and crannys, the men, women and children who have died on the premises, the labyrinthine cellar… They’re all the perfect breeding ground for tales and legends of the supernatural. Staff talk often of ghostly myths and rumors that they have personally experienced, or heard through the grapevine. Indeed, those nightmarish stories start to creep up out of the woodwork this time of year.
Down in the Dark: Guests have spoken of spooky sightings, strange noises and moving shadows when they visit the cellar.
Is Château de Pommard Haunted?
The answer: maybe.
Yes, doors slam shut unexpectedly every so often (but that could just be the famous east-blowing Burgundy wind), and, yes, a ghostly presence can be felt in certain parts of the cellar and, yes, the eight bedrooms of the Marey-Monge children in Château Marey-Monge, once occupied by a selection of antique dolls and toys, do have a creepy vibe – an atmosphere unhelped by the choice of hypnotising, kaleidoscopic wallpaper that adorns the walls of each room.
The Emperor’s Bathtub: Napoleon’s bathroom and adjoining bedroom, The Blue Room
The Blue Room where Napoleon often stayed was once the stuff of nightmares. Before it transformed into a rather bright and friendly space as part of the Château’s ongoing renovation. Some visitors have recalled seeing the vertically-challenged former French Emperor’s face appear as moving stains on the wall. Night-time noises, howls and laughter from the floorboards, sounds not of this earth, have also been frequently heard but never recorded – yet.
Visions of a small girl running down the hallways of the apartments and offices after midnight have been evidenced by various staff members staying late. But, remember, this is a winery – so head-spinning stories can often be a result of the wine!
Visions After Midnight: A little girl, who looks like the girl in this picture, has been seen running around the estate (apparently)
One of the most reoccurring visions we hear about is of a deathly shadow. Some believe it is of a dark figure of an old man walking toward the empty Château Micault late at night across the cobbled courtyard of Honour from Château Marey-Monge. It was often believed to be the spectre or spirit of Nicolas-Joseph Marey-Monge, the beloved owner of Château de Pommard in the early 19th century ; who was filled with regret that he was unable to reunite the two castles in his lifetime. It would make sense that he would spend his afterlife stuck wandering between these two majestic houses, divided between the two, in a ghastly, ghostly limbo.
Death in the Château: Does Mr Marey-Monge haunt his beloved vineyard?
It was at 4 p.m. on December 3, 1818, on the second floor bedroom in Château Marey-Monge ; that Nicolas-Joseph Marey, one of the most important figures in our history, son of Claude Marey, and son-in-law of Gaspard Monge ; was found dead by his beloved wife Émilie Monge. He died suddenly aged 58. The cause of his death is still unknown. Luckily for us, Émilie was kind enough to watercolor the scene of his death ; not only giving us a living record of his death, but also an insight into their rather sparse interior decoration.
Émilie Marey-Monge: EMM, and her mother, also died on the premises
Several of the eight Marey-Monge children are buried in Pommard Cemetery. Along with Émilie and Nicolas-Joseph, next to gated crypts whose tombstone names remain unclear. Is it Nicolas-Joseph, or his children, that are the spectral spirits some have seen at night, like the Ghost of Hamlet’s father wandering the grounds of Castle Elsinore?
However, it isn’t just visions of ghostly people that have been witnessed. Many visitors have reported the sight of a large spectral Arabian horse running around the vineyard at twilight ; the time at which Guillaume Stanislas Marey-Monge, the eldest of the Marey-Monge children ; he too is buried in Pommard cemetery ; put down his injured beloved horse in Clos Marey-Monge. The horse, it has been reported, was buried in the vineyard. It left a large mound that took many months to reduce, due to the sheer size of the horse.
Pommard Cemetery: Two of Émilie’s children are buried next to their mother’s gated crypt
It remains unknown if other members of other families who have owned the Château died on the premises – we’re looking into it – but it is safe to assume so. Émilie Marey-Monge was 89 when she died and never left Pommard again after her husband suddenly died. Her mother, Catherine, also died in Pommard, but it is unclear where or how.
So, Is Château de Pommard haunted? We think it could be.
But to be sure, it’s best if you come and hunt for ghosts for yourself … If you dare!
Happy Hallowine Everyone!
Want to learn more about our spooky history? Don’t be scared to go here
Pommard Pumpkin: We took our pumpkin for a walk around the premises