an 18th century manor house and its French formal garden
In the French department of Loire-Atlantique, less than an hour from the beaches. Set amidst vineyards in the area around Nantes. 25 minutes from the centre of Nantes, 20 minutes from its airport and its train station. In a busy town with more than 20,000 inhabitants, 10-minute train links to Nantes as well as primary and secondary schools.
This property cannot be seen from the road. It is accessed via a secondary road, bordered by vines, and then via a private, 300 m long driveway.
The driveway, bordered by high walls on one side and by vines on the other, leads to gates that open into a main courtyard. The folly stands on the west side, whilst outbuildings, forming the north side, are set out around a secondary courtyard. On the east side are woods and a meadow where sheep and fallow deer graze. The garden only comes into view once through the door of the folly. It is surrounded by woods, meadows and vines which are separated from it by a walk-walk, looking down on to it.
This rectangular construction comprises a main, 2-storey building, with four bays, extended on either side by a lower pavilion. The residence is perfectly symmetrical around an axis formed by the front door on the courtyard side and a curved projection on the garden side.
The granite and freestone facades, rendered using sand from the river Loire and topped with slate roofs, make for a harmonious, sober and luminous property.
The 18th century architectural features are remarkably well preserved or have been restored in keeping with good trade practices.
Only the windows in the rotunda lounge are original, all the others have been replaced like-for-like with double glazing.
The main entrance is reached from the courtyard via a few slate steps which go up to a terrace. A semi-circular vestibule provides access, straight on, to a round lounge or state room, overlooking the garden via a French window, flanked by two semi-circular arched windows.
On the left-hand side, a stone stairway goes up to the first floor. A 28 m² dining room features a red marble fireplace, the narrowing section and embrasure of which are adorned with salamanders. It is followed by a pantry where a wooden stairway goes up to the first floor, and then a kitchen. Adjoining the dining room is an astonishing little round room.
On the right-hand side, double doors open into a large, 44 m² lounge. This room features parquet flooring laid in a Versailles pattern, a grey marble fireplace, mirrors, wall panelling, decorated with garlands of flowers and wainscoting. It precedes a billiards’ room, with a stone stairway which goes up to one of the studies on the first floor, followed by the laundry room.
A cloakroom and toilet complete this level.
Three doors provide access to the outside: the front door, a French window in the oval lounge and a door in the kitchen.
The floors are covered with tiles inlaid with decoration throughout, with the exception of the large lounge with its Versailles pattern parquet flooring. All the decorative features date from the 18th century.
The main stairway goes up from the entrance hall to a corridor which provides access to a rotunda study, above the round lounge, followed by four bedrooms, three shower room and two toilets.
Two lateral stairways each provide access to an area corresponding to the pavilions. One houses a bedroom, with a shower room, the other a study.
This floor is in need of attention.
Unconverted, the attic space spans a large floor surface area which could easily be transformed into rooms.
The swiming pool
This heated swimming pool is fed by water from the well.
The main outbuildings
The outbuildings form an open courtyard off the main courtyard. Spanning a total floor surface area of more than 1,000 m², they include a wine storehouse, two houses and miscellaneous buildings. All the carcasses are in a very good state of repair.
The vast wine storehouse, with its press and granite troughs, bears witness to the property’s former wine-making activity.
Land lease rental of the ground floor and 1.5 ha of vines provides payment of a hundred or so bottles of award-wining Muscadet wine every year.
Straight in front, when entering the outbuilding courtyard, is a house that was rebuilt some 15 years ago after a fire. Its internal layout awaits completion. Spanning a ground surface area of 110 m² with ceilings more than 4 m high, it currently comprises but two rooms. The electric wiring is in line with current day standards, but it lacks plumbing and sanitation systems.
A second, smaller house adjoins the folly. It comprises three rooms, an entrance hall and a shower room. Spanning a total floor surface area of 43 m², it is in need of attention.
The other outbuildings
These include a small dovecote at the entrance to the courtyard, a hay barn, storerooms, an area where horse-drawn carts were once kept, a barn for the fallow deer, a garage and a farm shed.
The land and the vines
Approx. 1.5 ha of vines rented on a land lease adjoin the outbuildings. Grasslands extend down to a navigable river. An old landing stage, probably dating from the time of “Hirondelle” river barges but currently not in use, once enabled boats to moor up such that its passengers could walk through the vines. A stream runs through the woods.
The engraving “Et in Arcadia ego” (literally meaning And I am in Arcadia), featured on an obelisk in the woods, is also to be found on two of Poussin’s paintings. Therefore, the tone of classicism and joy of tamed natural surroundings is set. The symmetry, on which the layout of the buildings and the garden is founded, provides a feeling of serenity with just a few exceptions to break the monotony. The preserved, late 18th century decors do not make this residence a museum but reflect a period of change: the rocaille-style left a little of its warmth whilst new sober lines satisfied reason. It is clear to see that this deserving property has been pampered for thirty years. The land extends down to a river which, with its locks, can be used to reach Nantes or the Muscadet vineyards.
|Land registry surface area||19 ha 49 a 10 ca|
|Main building surface area||440 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||5|
|Outbuilding surface area||1200 m2|
Nadine Riant +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.