between the Gâtine countryside and the Poitevin marshlands
The lovely town of Niort, with its TGV train station providing links to Paris taking less than two hours, is 20 km away. La-Rochelle and its international airport is 40 minutes away. The “Estuary motorway”, 15 km away, goes towards Nantes on one side, Paris or Bordeaux on the other. To the north, little local roads wind their way through the lush vegetation with apparently-deep valleys and heights, from which views stretch in every direction for dozens of kilometres. To the south, the Poitevin marshlands exude a powerful charm as if created by a painter’s brush. This house is in a commune between the two. A large market town, less than 4 km away has all shops and amenities.
The parklands were designed and landscaped into different sections, enhancing their surface area and beauty with an orchard, a verdant haven, a vegetal cloister, vines, a rose bed as well as rows of lime and maple trees.
The house and the outbuildings facing it form the two long arms of the U-shape once formed by the medieval castle, of which there remained four towers in the 19th century: the stone has no doubt been reused locally. The end of the old courtyard is delimited by a tall, holm oak hedge. The water from a fountain, set in the centre, flows from a stele into a quadrangular ornamental pool, just a few metres from a water well.
Here, limestone rules, whether dressed or in quarry stone blocks. In both cases it exudes a force, a noble simplicity, a beauty savoured by the soul.
The main, 20 m long facade faces south-east. Large, wooden-framed, small-paned windows are sensibly laid out above and on either side of a classical entrance. The latter features protruding columns supporting a full entablature, with an architrave, a frieze with glyphs et guttae, as well as a moulded cornice. The roof is covered with Roman tiles.
This level is laid throughout with stone tiles, sometimes uneven and sometimes polished by the generations of residents’ feet, but always soberly elegant. The entrance corridor is divided into two sections by a triangular arch. Prior to the latter, reception rooms are laid out on either side. A dining room, at the end of which a fitted kitchen has been tastefully and discreetly installed, is decorated with a monumental fireplace. The ceiling beams are exposed as in all the rooms throughout the house. A lounge, opposite the dining room and illuminated via two large windows, features a fireplace with a mantel and a highly architectural flue, separated horizontally by a curved groove. At the end of this room, a triangular arched door with pilasters provides access to a second kitchen and a boiler room. In line with the entrance corridor, a shower room, with a walk-in shower, a delightful, limestone wash-hand basin and a toilet, receives daylight via a large window. Next to it is a vast bedroom adorned with a monumental fireplace with curved jambs. Four small, high, semi-circular arched windows let daylight in.
This level is reached via a wide spiral stairway, illuminated by windows on several levels. The landing provides access to a large bedroom-study, where two windows featuring deep embrasures, a small, semi-circular arched one and a bigger rectangular one, give this room a double aspect. This room, like all the others on this level, has wide strip parquet flooring, nailed in the old-fashioned manner. A shower room with a toilet communicates with this bedroom: its black marble wash-hand basin is set on a beautifully designed and crafted vanity unit. A vestibule on the right-hand side of the landing leads to two bedrooms. One faces south-east, like the facade, through its two large windows. The moulded, indoor shutters, to be found in all the rooms of the house, reinforce the solid, outdoor shutters. The fireplace, with small bricks laid edgewise on the hearth, is fluted, with cabling on the jambs and a central stylised flower on the mantel. It is adjoined by a large dressing room. The dressed limestone is sufficient decor for the fireplace in the last bedroom. Two windows, with deep embrasures, give it a double aspect.
The space under the slopes of the thermally insulated roof is not only an attic but also an area which could be converted into a room. Both are illuminated via small openings.
The outbuildings take up a limestone quarry block building, standing facing the house and introducing an interesting symmetrical effect. They include a woodshed, a wine storehouse, as a charming little thirst-quenching wine is produced here, a barn and a workshop. It is in this last section that an automatic watering system has been installed; it also houses gardening equipment.
At a distance in the parklands, a building housing the bread oven is like something out of a fairy tale. And lastly, a farm shed, also made of stone, takes up a corner of the orchard.
The ideal parklands
These parklands are indeed ideal they have been thought out, designed and landscaped to lavishly feature all pleasures, for the eyes, for taking a stroll, for meditating, for observing and for those who enjoy eating. Following on from the orchard, just behind the house and moving away from it, is a verdant haven where trees have been planted on slight slopes, delimiting a central area where, if this subtle layout is not sufficient, a swimming pool could be installed for instance. A row of lime trees, along the perimeter wall, contributes to the overall geometry, like the thin cypress trees between which passes an imaginary alleyway, like the vine stock planted in rows on either side of the verdant cloister. Holm oak trees have been planted in clusters and singly to construct a natural architecture. In the centre of the quadrilateral thus formed is a well with its coping. The roses in their garden are like a historical, geographical and scientific summary. With names such as Sénégal, Souvenir-de-la-Malmaison, Alfred-Carrière and Bobby-James, they can but be appreciated by rose enthusiasts. A row of maple trees matches that of lime trees. The automatic watering system ensures that all these plants remain healthy.
Stone is omnipresent. It bestows the perimeter wall, the old house and the outbuildings, providing an equilibrium, with an immediately obvious refinement. The accompanying vegetation reflects a search for the ideal, the parklands being an intellectual and sensual creation. Beauty is the result of the geometry or perhaps it is the other way around. Water is provided for the trees, the vines and the roses. Residents feel a deep internal satisfaction.
|Land registry surface area||11322 m2|
|Main building surface area||285 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||250 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||4|
Jean-Pascal Guiot +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.