Until 2012, the cottage had been part of the chateau of Antigny-le-Chateau, whose wall the cottage overlooks. Antigny-le-Chateau was bought in 1922 by Royall Tyler, an American diplomat, international economist at the League of Nations in Geneva, a colleague of Allen Dulles in forming the OSS and grandfather of the Cottage owner. He and his wife carried out extensive restorations in the years between 1923 and 1940 Antigny has always been a building of important historical and cultural value.
Royall Tyler's wife, Countess Elisina Palamidessi di Castelvecchio Tyler, a great-great grand-daughter of of Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother and King of Holland for many years, returned to take up residence in the Chateau in May 1940, to be on hand when Hitler's troops arrived. Because of her strong character, status as an American citizen--the US was neutral at the time--and a woman well connected with all the important figures of contemporary French history--she was able to circulate in the vicinity with German permission. She saved innumerable lives of local Resistance members, whose descendants are our neighbors today. She also ensured that the Chateau was protected as a national treasure by the Occupation Force. She escaped to Geneva in 1941, two days before the Nazis were due to arrest her.
As a footnote, Countess Elisina was the American writer Edith Wharton's closest friend. She was at her bedside when Edith Wharton died and the Tyler family still holds the international publication rights to Edith Wharton's books. Edith Wharton's chauffeur, Henry Clarke Smith, who stayed on to help Elisina at the Chateau, is buried in the local cemetery at Foissy.
Countess Elisina Tyler bought the Cottage in 1945 to house a German ex-Prisoner of War who had stayed on as a manager of the property of the Chateau. Since that time, the cottage, built in the mid-1700s, has undergone a total transformation, while retaining the character of a traditional village house
The Cottage is by far the nicest dwelling of its kind we have seen, since we designed it for our own personal comfort, from which guests benefit.
The cottage gives guests a unique opportunity to spend time in a traditional French village with all the comforts of a luxury dwelling. We provide six bicycles to allow guests to explore the area. The countryside is also perfect for short or long walks. Fossil hunters will find Jurassic ammonites and other extinct life forms all over the area. Others may possibly find Roman coins, since some were recovered in the vicinity in 1923. There are walks of unparalleled beauty around the cottage and chateau. The high fields above the chateau provide nearly a 360 degree view of the countryside through which Julius Caesar's army marched in the conquest of Gaul. Caesar's final victory over Vercingetorix and the Gauls took place at Alesia, forty minutes away from the Cottage. The nearby town of Autun (Latin, Augustodunum) was said to be Agustus's favorite city outside of Rome.