A listed estate steeped in history including a chateau, outbuildings and 27 hectares of grounds
with a romantic lake and a swimming pool in the Figeac region
Figeac, LOT midi-pyrenees 46100 FR


Close to Figeac and the medieval village of Fons, which means "spring" in Latin, nestling in the Dournelle Valley in the Limargue region. From ancient times to the end of the 19th century, Fons-en Quercy was at the crossroads of the trade routes between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, known as the "tin route". As for Figeac, situated on the Causse de Gramat, the largest and wildest of the four limestone plateaus of Quercy, it has been awarded the "Grand Site d'Occitanie", "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" and "Plus beaux détours de France" heritage labels. The town has a railway station connecting to Brive La Gaillarde, Rodez and Toulouse. It takes less than 1 hour to drive to Rodez, 1 hr 30 mins to Brive-La-Gaillarde, and 3 hours to Toulouse. Three towns with an international airport.


The estate, which overlooks the entire Dournelle Valley, sits at the top of the hill above the village of Fons-en-Quercy, whose defence and prosperity it safeguarded for more than six centuries. It comprises a chateau of approx. 445 m² with two round towers of different diameters and periods, a residential farmhouse of approx. 120 m², an old farm building of approx. 160 m², and an impressive stable barn of approx. 828 m², formerly a stud, renowned throughout the region. The entire property, with a total floor area of almost 1,500 m² including the chateau, is listed.
A square dovecote spanning around 52 m² near the chateau, now used as a garage, and a round dovecote of around 29 m² bear witness to the importance of the former stronghold. The architectural diversity of this estate are a proud testimony to its tormented history, blending all periods from the 16th to the end of the 19th century. The finest building materials available in the region were used: stone from the Lot quarries, centuries-old oak trees for the roof timbers and parquet flooring, and terracotta roof tiles in a variety of shapes depending on the nature of the buildings to be covered.
The grounds, covering an area of 27 hectares, are totally private and boast a wealth of species and ancient trees. A narrow local road bisects the park. In addition to its vast water lily pond, nymphaeum, rock pool and grottoes, it includes a series of three “lavoirs” (laundry basins) fed by a natural warm spring. The hydraulic system of the grounds is listed as a historic monument.

The chateau

As it stands today, it was built at the end of the 16th century on the foundations of a medieval royal edifice erected two centuries earlier by King René of Provence and Anjou. Destroyed and rebuilt several times, like many of the defensive dwellings that stood at the heart of battles, it nevertheless remained in the hands of the same family, the Prudhomme family, from the end of the 16th century to the middle of the 20th.
Built over three stories, plus cellars and attic space that could be partially converted, the edifice has now lost its martial appearance and taken on the reassuring allure of a large family residence. Facing south-west/north-east, it is built of dressed stone from local quarries with large and rough joints. It comprises a square main building flanked by two round towers. Their roofs were redone after the initial levelling; one of them is steeply sloping and covered with terracotta tiles in the shape of a scale, known as "Alsatian tiles" or "beaver's tails" due to their rounded ends. The noble west facade, featuring 18th century openings and several "œils de bœuf" (bull's eyes), is extended by a secondary building set at right angles. Large windows also illuminate the facades of the secondary building, whose Mansard roof has several shed dormers.

The cellar
A series of cellars run beneath the main and secondary buildings, while the two towers have no basement. Covering an area of more than 90 m², the existing cellar comprises a large vaulted volume with an outdoor access situated underneath the main building, as well as a second volume used as a boiler room, and a final space that can be accessed from indoors, beneath the secondary dwelling.
The ground floor
A low door with a dressed stone lintel resting on a semicircular perron with three steps provides access to the interior of the central tower. Numerous ground-level French windows with fragments of Renaissance-style motifs on their lintels provide access from the south-west facade and at from the other points of the compass.
The entrance via the central tower leads to a vast circular hallway, the centrepiece of which is the staircase. Its vertiginous flight, in the shape of an inverted question mark, with a spindle baluster, a true masterpiece of carpentry, made entirely of waxed oak, is all the more impressive for being unexpected as one steps inside through the modest entrance door. The parquet flooring, probably from the Haussmann period, is geometrically arranged in a series of six long horizontal panels of old oak and elm, framed by wide transverse strips of the same types of wood.
To the right of the circular hallway, a double door leads to the main dwelling and its series of rooms following on from one another, including a dining room and a music room. This is adorned with a blonde cherrywood fireplace carved in the 18th century and topped by a mirror surrounded by an overmantel with a still life motif depicting musical instruments. A small round sitting room with a Directoire-period wooden fireplace and built-in wall bookcase completes the series of rooms in the corner tower. All these rooms feature sober wall decorations in woven fabrics, enlivened only by painted wooden cornices, skirting boards in the same style and stucco ceiling roses. The same spectacular geometric panels of impeccably preserved waxed parquet flooring, more than one hundred years old, can be found throughout this level. To the left of the circular hallway, after a maze of passageways, follows the entrance to the secondary building. Dating from the 19th century, it features a vast family kitchen with a floor laid with large old glazed terracotta tiles. There are also linen and laundry rooms, a larder and an internal staircase leading to the cellar.
Despite its attractive appearance as a comfortable family home, the chateau is in need of some refurbishment work to bring it up to standard, particularly the drainpipes, which are seriously outdated.
The first floor
The winding staircase ends at this level and extends into a decorative balustrade along a gallery. It opens onto a door on the right and a descending flight of stairs on the left, which bridges the slight difference in levels between the two sections of the building.
To the right, a long passageway along the outer wall leads to the main dwelling featuring a master bedroom with triple exposure, followed by a circular study in the corner tower. On the north-eastern side, there are also a lavatory, a cloakroom and a very large early 20th century bathroom lit by a large window opening on to the countryside. This storey displays the same understated decoration on the walls, the same meticulously carved precious wood fireplaces adorned with overmantels and, above all, the same geometric arrangement of the wooden floorboards, which are either wide, rather rustic planks or finer strips in the style of city parquet flooring of the end of the 19th century.
To the left, a short flight of stairs leads towards the secondary dwelling with two bedrooms and a bathroom separated by a sitting room-library with windows on both sides.
One of the distinctive aspects of this chateau is that it has more windows than is customary in this type of edifice, which means that the interior is particularly bright.
The second floor
Accessed via a straight, solid oak staircase whose balustrade starts in the east wing rather than in the central tower, the layout of the rooms on this floor is radically different. As the secondary dwelling contains only loft space, the bedrooms are located in the main dwelling and in the two towers. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Arranged around a passageway on the facade, there is one large circular bedroom in the central tower, another one in the corner tower and two with en suite bathrooms in the main section. All the bedrooms have hardwood floors in the same rustic style as those on the other levels, with low ceilings that were very fashionable in the 18th century, imitating the small flats in Versailles. The reduced volumes lend the bedrooms a more bourgeois feel and keep them warmer in winter. The multi-paned double windows provide plenty of natural light. All the walls are covered with period wallpaper or fabrics. Every bedroom offers stunning views over the parkland, its ponds and the valley, worthy of the most romantic compositions painted by the great landscape artists.
The third floor
This level contains loft space that extends over both the main and secondary sections, encompassing the two towers. It comprises three adjoining rooms that can be converted. Here again, the timberwork is absolutely exemplary.

Barn/stable, former stud

Accessed via a bridle path lined with centuries-old plane trees that once linked it to the chateau, this outbuilding is as legendary as the chateau itself. Not only because of its monumental inverted-hull timberwork, a true showpiece of the local master carpenters and workmen, but also because of its patron, the last Viscount de Prudhomme, Colonel de Cornély, who undertook a twofold project in building and social works when he embellished the chateau from 1868 onwards. A passionate horseman, he decided to build a stud farm that would resemble a genuine chateau.
Built along a steep slope, which it fills along its entire length, it can be accessed via two different ground floors, depending on which side one chooses to enter from.
To the south, the rectangular main building rises one storey above the ground floor and under the attic. It is of irregular dressed stone, with numerous small-paned wooden windows, diamond-shaped openings and numerous arched carriage entrance doors. It is topped with a vertiginous gabled roof that barely conceals the extraordinary dimensions of its framework.
To the north, there is only one level under the roof, because of the sloping ground.
To complete its chateau look, the building is flanked by two side towers, each four storeys high on a stone ground floor, with a brick turret abutting one of them. The towers are topped by cone-shaped, terracotta-tiled roofs. The entire external shell of the building, from the joinery to the framework and roofing, has recently been restored.

The ground floor
The main building is divided between the pillar room (156 m²) and the former stables (120 m²). These are accessed from the south side by six of the originally ten arched carriage entrance doors with transoms. The pillar room is actually a wooden manger space that is still preserved, adorned with two dressed stone arches supported by two round side pillars and two central pillars, similar to some Bordeaux wineries. The floors are either old flagstones or concrete. The stable area, now used as a storeroom, completes this part of the building, whose interior needs to be completely refurbished. In the two side towers, there are two bedrooms, also to be fully renovated, with large windows.
The first floor
Due to the slope, there are two accesses to this level. Both a monumental carriage entrance from the pillar room on the south side and another entrance directly from the roadway on the north side lead into a large hall where one can see the intricate beams of the 10-metre-high timberwork, aptly named a "cathedral roof structure". The regular coursed masonry walls reveal the rough, austere dressed stone supporting the endless wooden lacework above. The floor is laid with alternating panels of dark hardwood, separated by light oak strips, rather like traditional Japanese tatami mats. The remaining space is divided into three living rooms along a corridor, and one room in each of the two towers.
The second floor
With a total floor area of around 82 m² and accessed via a straight staircase, this level is divided into four rooms, some with fireplaces, once used by the staff and now in need of complete renovation.
The third floor
A vast 46 m² room in the central part serves two semi-circular bedrooms in each side tower. The entire storey requires renovation.

The two dovecotes

From the Middle Ages onwards, the dovecote provided an important source of food and fertiliser, a source of wealth for the lord and his household. Later, it became a privilege enjoyed only by the nobility. In other words, it was a prime symbol of lordly power. The fact that there are two dovecotes on this estate confirms its past wealth.
The square, single-storey dovecote of the chateau, with its four-sided, monk-and-nun tiled roof stands around fifty metres from the main dwelling, creating the impression of there being a third tower. Viewed from the outside, it blends harmoniously with the chateau thanks to the sloping ground. It cleverly conceals a rectangular lower section of approx. 50 m² used as a garage. In addition, there is a ground floor, topped by an upper floor of the same size used as storage space.
The listed stable dovecote also stands a short distance from the stable barn, exactly like the one next to the chateau. This round structure covering an area of around thirty square metres has a steep, conical slate roof. It has a semi-circular space on the ground floor and a circular area on the first floor that opens onto a passageway at the top, creating the appearance of a small parapet walk.

The residential farmhouse

Situated on a south-facing platform to the north of the large stable, the two-storey farmhouse is in need of complete interior restoration. Built of dressed stone from local quarries and roofed with original terracotta tiles, it is accessed via a double door fitted into an old carriage entrance, the arch of which has been filled in. This is in fact a former prune drying room that many farmers had as part of their own dwellings in the 19th century. It consisted of a wood-fired drying oven under a simple brick vault. Covering around sixty square metres, the ground floor connects to a kitchen - a common room with an inglenook fireplace - and a scullery/pantry.
The upper level has the same floor area but cannot currently be accessed, as the staircase is unsafe. It comprises two bedrooms and an old shower room. The walls are of irregular dressed stone masonry, sometimes lime rendered, sometimes bare, with rather rustic beamed ceilings and floors of large, irregularly laid flagstones. A 30 m² shed of the same architectural style and construction materials backs on to the house.

The farm building

Not far from these buildings, but not close enough to form a hamlet, there is an old 160 m² two-storey farm building, currently without any door or window frames, that awaits complete restoration. The ground floor has a large central room and two side rooms, totalling approx. 80 m².
The upper floor, which can be accessed from the rear, has a total surface area of 80 m² and remains to be fully refurbished.

Grottoes, nymphaea and springs

The presence of natural hot springs has always stirred the imagination... and cured rheumatism. The hot spring that has been present on this property for thousands of years is no exception. It feeds a series of old laundry basins. A number of grottoes that can still be entered provide access to the spring. In 1992, a statue of the Virgin of Lourdes could still be seen in one of them, just above the chateau's cellars, evoking the sacred nature of the site (VMF = Old French Houses Association visit report, 10 August 1992). This was clearly recognised as early as 846, when the bones of Saint Vivien were presented here, only to be stolen by the monks of Figeac Abbey for their alleged healing powers. The matter was thus settled.

Grounds and swimming pool

In addition to the historic buildings, the decidedly English-style landscaped park is one of the estate's major assets. It was created by Colonel de Cornély after 1868, although some species are older, such as certain plane trees over 200 years of age. Set in the rolling hills of the estate's meadows and woods, the park features a pond romantically reflecting the chateau, framed in a profusion of water lilies and arums. Cedars of Lebanon, centuries-old plane trees, lime trees, evergreen oaks, venerable conifers and mixed woodland make up the remaining grounds, separated by natural hedges that have been skilfully preserved to create a rustic geometry of immeasurable beauty, overlooking the village of Fons in the distance.
The hydraulic system, pools, nymphaeum and pond are listed historic monuments.
The vast oval pool was dug out of the rock and reinforced with concrete in the last century. It is fed by spring water, a rare feature. Part of the pool's surround is open to access a slip that slopes down to the deepest part.

Our opinion

A chateau with an estate of this size and allure, set in a prominent position and protected by its extensive grounds of 27 hectares, is a rare opportunity in a region as popular with tourists as Figeac, located between the Causses (limestone plateaus) and the valleys. Any number of developments are conceivable, provided that some renovation work is carried out and the property is brought up to standard. The outbuildings, located at a good distance from the chateau, can be used completely independently. Water resources are a major asset. The hot and cold springs going back thousands of years provide water not only for the estate and its dwellings, but also for the swimming pool, the pond, the watering of the grounds and more. The presence on site of a caretaker, who knows the estate well and values its qualities, can help to ensure an immediate familiarity with this singular property, whatever use one wishes to make of it, starting with what it has always been, a vast and pleasant family residence unlike any other.

Exclusive sale

1 490 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense

See the fee rates

Reference 794400

Land registry surface area 27 ha 56 a 70 ca
Main building surface area 445 m2
Number of bedrooms 7
Outbuilding surface area 1138 m2


Ilan Libert +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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