on a rocky promontory, dominating the Isère Valley
This property, the private, habitable section of one of the Savoy’s heritage monuments, dominates the Savoy Valley and looks down on the Arc-Isère confluence. Standing on a rocky escarpment of the southern slopes of the Bauges Mountains and dominating the Isère Plain as well as the mountains lining the horizon, its only neighbour is the fortress’ impressive historic section, originally separated from it by an old stationary bridge. It is located in the east section of the citadel, above a little hamlet, at an ideal altitude of some 550 m.
This property has been owned by the same family since 1869. The site is easily reached as it is about 25 km from Albertville; 35 km from Chambery (TGV train station); 60 km from Grenoble and 100 km from Geneva. The nearest international airports are those of Geneva and Lyon-Saint-Exupéry.
Said gardens, exuding a Romanesque air and enhanced with a wide, circular, spring-fed fountain, are laid out all on one level, with one section of the land sloping very gently down to the watchtower on the east side. The site looks out northwards, southwards and eastwards; the view to the west taking in the historic, uninhabited section of the fortress. The terrace reached from one of the buildings has a 360° view. The entire site is protected by a high perimeter wall, with a wall-walk along the entire north side.
The main building (a house), with its middle-class appearance, faces the gardens. Reflecting an early 19th century style, it comprises a ground floor and two levels of living rooms, topped with a gable roof, and looks out over the gardens. A large tower, slightly oblong in shape, communicates with the main building solely via its ground floor level (a room in use as a kitchen). Its independent first floor is reached via an outside stairway.
Other buildings are set out around the gardens:
- on the south and east sides of the ramparts, an old watchtower, spanning two levels, is topped with a pavilion roof. It can be reached via the wall-walk and via the gardens. A large, 2-storey building, used for barn and storage purposes, is topped with a terrace.
- on the south side, a chapel, spanning a ground surface area of approx. 100 m², dates from the 15th century.
- on the west side: a pavilion standing at the west entrance to the Outer Bailey, spans two levels. It is used as a gatehouse and for office purposes.
The main house, spanning a ground surface area of approx. 321 m², is in a good state of repair. Although regularly maintained, some improvement works will need to be scheduled for those wishing to install modern-day home comforts. Spanning approx. 650 m² of living space, large reception areas are combined with a comfortable number of bedrooms on the first floor as well as on the second or attic floor, converted into several staff bedrooms. Many of the wide windows, reflecting the 18th century style, are embellished with stained-glass motifs. An impressive, oblong tower, marking the entrance to the property and spanning a ground surface area of approx. 165 m², communicates on both of its levels with the main house.
The ground floor has numerous, wide openings on the garden side. A vast kitchen, with 2.5 m thick walls, spans approx. 40 m². It takes up most of the lower floor of the tower adjoining the building. The reception rooms (dining room, large and small lounges and library) represent approx. 150 m² of living space. The building is accessed via a vestibule, a room spanning approx. 30 m². Its height going up to the roof, this room is enhanced with a superb dual-flight, quarter-turning wooden stairway.
This level is reached via the wide stairway in the vestibule (an outside stairway also provides another access). A long corridor leads to six bedrooms looking out over the gardens, some of which span more than 25 m². The adjoining tower, also reached via the same outside stairway, is really surprising courtesy of its structure and its internal layout. With a circular surface area, it houses a neo-gothic looking bedroom, spanning more than 46 m² and featuring immaculate panelling. The floors are laid with wooden flooring and the fireplace is monumental. Most of the windows are adorned with stained glass. In the same area, an annexe bedroom and a shower room bestow this section with a particular originality. A little, spiral, stone stairway is even concealed within the thickness of the walls.
A different stairway from that of the vestibule leads to the top floor. Here, a long corridor provides access to seven bedrooms, spanning between approx. 13 and 27 m². Each bedroom is illuminated via one or two Jacobin-style gable roof dormers.
On the same southern fortifications, a 15th century chapel dominating a valley spans a ground surface area of approx. 100 m². The floors are laid with dressed stone. The walls and the cross-ribbed ceilings, adorned with sober paintings, are an invitation to contemplation and deepen the serenity of the premises.
A watchtower, at the south-east end of the parklands, spans a ground surface area of approx. 37 m² on two levels. Topped with a pavilion roof and reached on its first floor via the wall-walk or the gardens, it looks out over the horizon.
On the fortifications to the south, this 2-storey structure spans a ground surface area of approx. 127 m². It is topped with a terrasse and is currently used for barn and storage purposes. This building could be converted into small function rooms or into accommodation for passing guests.
The caretaker's pavilion
Once through the property’s porchway, a little, 2-storey house, spanning a ground surface area of approx. 26 m², appears at the west entrance to the Outer Bailey. It is used as a gatehouse and for office purposes. It also marks the limit with the other historic section of the fortress.
These reasonably-sized gardens, completely out of sight of onlookers, reflect the image of the premises and contribute to bestowing an atmosphere of serenity on this architectural knoll nestling in its mountain setting, flanked to the south by the Bauges Mountains. Tall, mature trees are mirrored in the circular fountain in the middle of the lawn. The pathways and the terraces dominate the valley and transform the gardens with a perspective stretching to infinity. The numerous airy nooks and crannies throughout the parklands are but an invitation to appreciate Romanticism.
This private, habitable section of a renowned Savoy fortress alone illustrates the rarity and uniqueness of these premises. Fully listed as a French Historic Monument and, therefore, entitled to numerous interesting tax and heritage benefits, it will impress all those who have the privilege to enter its perimeter walls. Perched on its rocky promontory, this extremely stylish property adjoins an Inner Bailey with a rich past and the visual impact of the plains below as well as the mountain ranges facing it is unique. Although in need of some works to install modern-day home comforts, these premises are steeped not only in the charm of old-fashioned romanticism, but also in a serenity all of their own.
|Land registry surface area||2744 m2|
|Main building surface area||550 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||13|
|Outbuilding surface area||400 m2|
Haute-Savoie, Bresse, Haut-Bugey et Genève
Thierry Besse +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.