Nestled in the heart of Béziers, an Anglo-Norman style «villa»
in a park of 2,550 m² studded with trees and its caretaker's house
Béziers, HERAULT languedoc-roussillon 34500 FR

Location

The town sits on a peak, one of the last foothills of the Massif Central, and overlooks the banks of the Orb, the Canal du Midi, and one of the formerly world's greatest vineyards. It is a real transportation hub: in addition to the waterways (Orb and Canal du Midi), this is where the A9 (Rhône Valley-Spain) and A75 (Massif Central motorway) motorways intersect. By road, Béziers is 181 km from Toulouse, 72 km from Montpellier and 232 km from Marseille. It is served by Béziers-Cap d'Agde airport; Montpellier airport is 40 minutes away, Carcassonne and Perpignan less than an hour. The TGV trains serving Paris, Montpellier and Perpignan stop here. The villa is nestled in an area known for its pleasant living environment and rich cultural infrastructure called "Le Quartier-Latin biterrois” (The Latin Quarter of Beziers). The pre-war bourgeoisie had moved from the city centre to the green and popular areas of the former Champ de Mars. Numerous shops in the vicinity and several weekly markets enliven the town.

Description

The parklands surrounding the property are accessed from a crossroads. Once through the gate, a gravel driveway encircling a lawn leads to the Anglo-Norman style residence which stands in a slightly elevated position. A drive-through garage under the caretaker's house also allows access to the parklands from the avenue. Adjacent to this small dwelling, an old greenhouse in need of restoration and a building known as the "wash house" at the rear of the villa complete the property.
Villa "R" and its 2,550 m² park are characteristic of the late 19th century style, when architecture, decorations and gardens demonstrated the status and wealth of its owners. The house is built of stone and brick, composed of multiple volumes, with balconies (in an almost seaside style) and set up "à la française" in the geometric centre of the grounds with an imposing parterre garden, today surrounded by venerable trees including a majestic cedar. The villa is one of Béziers' most important architectural achievements, bearing witness to the brilliant era the city experienced in the second half of the 19th century.

The Villa

It was built in 1905 in the spirit of fashionable resort architecture by the architect J. Delaval (he reshaped the town from 1901 to 1905) and the engineer J. Sabatier for a prosperous family in the wine trade. This villa is surprising in its proportions and style and would blend in perfectly with any of the other seaside resorts built at that time. Inspired by the Anglo-Norman style, it embraces Art-Nouveau and a few years later Art Deco, as evidenced by its interior glass roof. The building has a refined plan and is characterised by asymmetrical elevations and a series of differently shaped roofs. These are covered with tiles and feature Jacobean dormer windows allowing a view of the treetops. The walls and foundations are made of local stone, and the corners are of toothed quoins alternating rough and cut stone. A balcony with a stone and carved terracotta railing tops a bay window.
Taking advantage of the profusion of materials and techniques used during this period, the façade boasts a large variety of decorations: different shades of terracotta, rough limestone and glazed brick, to which are added more classical cornices and moulded bands, pediments and stone or brick window frames arranged vertically. On the rear façade a service entrance allows access to the kitchen originally located on the mezzanine.


Ground floor
The ten-step stone stoop, protected by a tiled canopy, leads to a terrace and to the Art-Nouveau style entrance door. As soon as you enter the building, the tone is set: the floor of the porch, like almost all of the 160 m² of the ground floor, is made of terrazzo. The house remains authentic: antique woodwork, elaborate ornaments, Art Nouveau door handles, marble. The vast hallway (where an easily removable partition has been used to separate the upstairs) serves, on one side, a first dining room with walls covered with wainscotting and hangings in the upper part. A bay window serves as a smoking room.
At the back lies the former kitchen/scullery, where the old dumbwaiter connecting the kitchen to the basement still remains.
On the other side of the entrance is a dining room with a modern kitchen. The bay window is just one of the numerous large openings providing light throughout the day in the entire house. To the rear, in the wing added in the 1950s and recently renovated, are two bedrooms, a wardrobe, a shower room and a toilet, as well as the service staircase accessible from the main staircase on a half-landing. The latter, in white marble with a wrought iron railing illuminated by a window and a large Art-deco glass roof, leads to the upper floors.

First floor
The first floor offers 110 m² of living space and includes a bedroom with a terrace and a bathroom with toilet. Opposite the staircase, the marble-floored hallway leads to a second room with alcove, decorated with woodwork and wall hangings. A balcony above the lower bay window opens onto a view of the park. A wardrobe is accessible from both rooms. Follows a rather striking bathroom (with toilet) having preserved all its original elements from floor to ceiling, in the purest style of the 1950s. This room overlooks a roof terrace without access. The floors in the bedrooms are paved with terracotta tiles and the bathrooms with ceramic tiles. At the rear, a corridor leads to the back staircase which serves the upper floor.
Second floor
With a surface area of 80 m², it offers two bedrooms, a shower room and a toilet. The rooms are in original condition and paved with terracotta tiles. Each has a dormer and a French window opening onto a balcony. All the rooms on this level offer numerous under-eave storage units. A room between the two bedrooms could easily be turned into the wardrobe for this level.
Lower Level 1
With a surface area of approximately 160 m², it can be accessed directly through the service entrance at the rear of the villa or through a door located under the main staircase. The hall leads to a period kitchen with three windows, a laundry/drying room and a boiler room. There are also four rooms used for wine storage and various cellar rooms, three of which have no windows.
Caretaker’s accommodation
The caretaker's house : This is a small corner house with a surface area of approximately 60 m², accessible directly from the street. It has two levels with an entrance, a bedroom, a bathroom and a toilet on the ground floor. A spiral staircase leads to the first floor, which consists of a separate kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. From this level, a door opens onto a large terrace above the drive-through garage. A stone staircase joins the parklands and an old greenhouse in need of restoration, a testimony of the past. On the opposite side of the garden, in the north-east corner, sits a tiled building formerly used as a laundry.

Our opinion

Although located in the city centre, the lush, green garden provides a real change of scenery and a genuine sense of another era. This is one of the most remarkable villas of Béziers thanks to the unique seaside architecture. The sea breeze and the scattering of seagulls flying in the sky are a reminder of the Mediterranean nearby. The family home exudes an atmosphere of peace and nostalgia, an effect of its past and its architectural elegance. Some refurbishments will be necessary to wake up the sleeping beauty. Set in this environment, which is at the same time quiet, lively, urban and multicultural, the house is perfect for those who want to be swept away by the bustling energy of the city.

Exclusive sale

960 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 585830

Land registry surface area 2576 m2
Main building surface area 490 m2
Number of bedrooms 6
Outbuilding surface area 140 m2
including refurbished area60 m2

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant


Fabrice Delprat +33 1 42 84 80 85

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NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.

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