in a historic district of Saumur between the river Loire and vineyards
The charm of the Loire Valley is well known. The river meanders between white sand banks and wild islets. Verdant banks and character villages follow on one from the other. In the very heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Nature Park, the natural area around Saumur abounds in gems. Its many vineyards, its emblematic chateaux and its refined, freestone architecture make it a unique place. Saumur is, without doubt, a town of art, history and tradition. Member of the “Cœur de Ville” action plan to boost public interest in town centres, it attracts all kinds of projects. In the historic centre, all shops and amenities are within walking distance.
The train line provides 30-minute links between Saumur and Angers or Tours. The town is near to slip roads for the A85 motorway.
The property is laid out in an L-shape with curved corners, around a wide paved courtyard. The main building and its wings house a home and rented offices. A turret, based on a squinch and dating from the 17th century, adjoins the north wing.
The mansion house
The impressive appearance of the building sets the tone for this unique property, abounding in history. Completely constructed from freestone, this noble mansion house is pure white.
The landscaped, paved courtyard is bright and clearly delimited. It extends right up to the building and alongside the old stables. Once again, the attention to detail and the preservation of the heritage stand out. The Louis XIV period door to the stable has been meticulously restored.
A dendrochronological report reveals that some of the structural beams come from trees cut during the winter of 1699, proof of the quality of the wood.
The building spans three levels, the top one of which is under the rafters. The courtyard facade has undergone particularly meticulous renovation works. The openings are wide and symmetrical on each level. The central building is topped with a Mansard-style, slate roof, whilst the wings have hip roofs. The roofs feature roof dormers, with inverted, scrolled corbels, all facing the courtyard. Those on the main building are topped with a dentil cornice.
A tall wooden door, topped with a tympanum, adorned with curved motifs, opens into an entrance hall, housing the main stairway. The floor is paved with coloured stone tiles, skilfully laid by a master craftsman.
The main, wooden, dogleg stairway, with wide steps, goes up to each floor. It is bordered by wrought iron railings, featuring the owners’ initials in places. An opening, in the entrance hall, leads to a lounge and an adjoining bedroom, with its door out to the courtyard, its dressing room and its shower room. The floors in the lounge and the bedroom are identical to that in the entrance hall. The lounge walls reveal exposed freestone and an old arched doorway is visible, vestige of a building dating from before the construction of the manor house. Beams and joists have been left exposed in the bedroom. A door in the hall opens into a kitchen.
The first floor is very much the “noble” floor. The balanced rooms are widely illuminated via large openings.
The landing acts as a link between the reception wing and the wing given over to more private quarters.
On one side, a library, a study, a lounge and a ladies’ sitting room are all adjoining. The decor, fireplaces and panelling date from the reign of Louis XVI. A built-in bookshelf unit in the library lines an entire wall. It is decorated with the same motifs as those adorning the walls. The floor is covered with parquet flooring, laid in an Aremberg pattern. The study is set in the curve of the building. Windows and cupboards are laid out in keeping with its shape. The room is decorated with some discreet gilding and a black marble fireplace. The parquet flooring is a continuity of that in the library. Double doors in the study provide access to the lounge. This room is magnificent. The walls are adorned with panelling enhanced with gilding. This panelling recounts the tale of an 18th century gentleman’s hobbies. It therefore depicts strong symbols of love, the arts, hunting, gardening, the countryside and war. The floor is covered with herringbone pattern parquet flooring. The difference between the parquet in the study and the lounge is enhanced with a parquet frieze of star and stylised flower motifs. A black marble fireplace completes the decor. The ladies’ sitting room is laid out in the turret, based on a squinch, reached through the lounge. Reflecting Klein’s blue hues, it stands out from the other rooms because of its daring. This cosy, little haven faces the courtyard and is proudly lined with Louis XVI style panelling.
The first floor of the private wing is laid out in the following manner: a kitchen can be reached from the landing via a large glazed door. This resolutely modern universe creates a successful break from the rest of the rooms. This kitchen is bright courtesy of its large openings looking out over the courtyard. As in the study, one of said openings curves in keeping with the line of the building. Beams and joists have been left exposed.
A door at the end of the kitchen opens into a dining room. Its floor is covered with strip pattern parquet flooring. A red marble fireplace, with floral motifs on the lintel, enhances one wall. The light-coloured walls and the ceiling feature discreet gilded ornamentation, giving the room its noble appearance. Following on from the kitchen, a corridor delimits a night-time area, with a vast bedroom, a toilet, a dressing room and a bathroom, with a shower. The bedroom walls are decorated with panelling. Its red marble fireplace is topped with a trumeau, adorned with motifs depicting foliage, ribbons and musical instruments. The floor is laid with strip pattern parquet flooring.
This level, reached via the wide main stairway, is laid out in a similar manner to that of the first floor; a landing providing access to two wings. Under the rafters, this area is still in its original state. It was once given over to the domestic staff. The rooms are of a spacious size courtesy of the exposed Mansard-style roofing framework. The numerous roof dormers on this level give it a welcoming, cosy atmosphere. The floors are laid with old terracotta tiles throughout this level.
One wing comprises a recently renovated, modern bathroom, a toilet and two vast, adjoining bedrooms. The second wing is also laid out with private rooms. A long corridor provides access to a bathroom, with a toilet, a bedroom and a large room, ideal for a multitude of uses.
The ground floor of this mansion house’s south wing is laid out as offices. Spanning a surface area of 82 m², it was recently renovated. The walls in this area are lined with panelling. For practical reasons, these offices are independently accessed via the road and not the courtyard.
The noble family that commissioned the construction of this mansion house sought sober elegance. It is not, therefore, surprising to find the silhouette of this property in certain books about regional architecture and heritage.
These premises embody the art of French living throughout. There is no doubt that they will delight all stone and heritage enthusiasts. The dimensions, the materials and the finishing works were all handled meticulously.
The property exudes special energy. Its nobility of yesteryear has been preserved and magnified by painstaking restoration works, praised by architects from Bâtiments-de-France.
It forms a rich universe in the town centre. The proximity of the shops, the market and the town’s cultural centres, such as the theatre, the castle and the Cadre-Noir (French National Riding School) make this a choice setting.
|Land registry surface area||361 m2|
|Main building surface area||534 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||5|
Yannick Lafourcade +33 1 42 84 80 85
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.