A unique two-storey townhouse in the historic centre of Avignon,
with a panoramic view of the Palais des Papes
, VAUCLUSE provence-cote-dazur FR

Location

In the heart of the City of Popes, 15 minutes' walk from the central train station. Avignon, a Unesco World Heritage site and capital of the Côtes du Rhône, is literally surrounded by verdant countryside.
The city, still surrounded by its recently fully restored ramparts, is located 25 km from the Alpilles, 40 km from the Lubéron, 60 km from the mountains and less than 1 hour from the sea, at equal distance from the Camargue and Languedoc coasts.
In addition, Avignon has an airport, a regional and a high-speed railway station, three hospitals and clinics, a university, three state upper secondary schools and one private secondary school, gastronomic market halls and a multitude of shops, all of which justify its recent ranking as the third most pleasant medium-sized town in France.

Description

This house is unexpected, like a maze, full of architectural variations, located on the meanderings of a very old alleyway that is one of the quietest and most hidden in the town. The street forms a curve and a trompe-l'oeil with, somewhere near the house, a well which offered water to passers-by in former times. But - for there is a "but" - while the pilgrim was drinking, his degree of honesty or villainy was scrutinised and it was not uncommon for a large iron chain to stretch out of nowhere across the passage and to imprison the rascal. This treacherous street, soon known as "Rue du Puits de la Chaîne" (Chain Well Street), later changed its name to "Rue Lierrée" ("Ivy Street") because of the thick ivy that formed a canopy of greenery over the roadway, linking the house to its immediate neighbours. Under the foliage, the deep mystery of these surroundings was kept alive, stopping all conversation and untimely chatter.
Tastefully restored after having been abandoned for a long time, the house attracts the eye with its wide terrace balustrade forming an arc that breaks the straight lines of the surrounding classical building. It marks the approximate location of the old well and its chain, buried forever according to local historians. Today, private mansions and gardens, tree-lined courtyards and bourgeois houses line and surround the house that some still call the "Maison du Puits de la chaîne" (Chain Well House).
Apart from the baroque wave drawn by the balustrade above a blind wall, nothing brings the residence to the attention of the passer-by. All the interesting features are to be found indoors, and so much the better.
This is another of those secret and mysterious places that Avignon likes to cultivate along its narrow, almost rural alleyways, sheltered from everything and yet far from nothing.

The townhouse

Today, the house presents two facades of very different architectural styles:
- The street facade, dating from the 17th century, is one storey high and primarily features the impressive curved baluster balcony of its terrace.
- The courtyard facade, inspired by the 17th century but built in the 19th century, is of red brick with white limestone corner quoins, punctuated at the top of the relieving arches by a dozen stone sculptures with animal heads, some of them exotic. It is for this reason that it was called "the hunter's house" or "the elephant's house".
In fact, this residence comprises two separate buildings that the current owner has connected at the top, creating a sort of triplex that is quite fun to live in, with the top floor invisible from the street.


The ground floor
The small door on the street, bearing the effigy of an olive branch, opens onto a lobby that leads to a vast warehouse-like room, bright during the winter months and cool in the summer, with a floor laid with porcelain stoneware tiles and a perfectly restored vaulted ceiling. Currently used as a living room and exhibition space, it has a mezzanine at its southern end, accessed via a metal staircase. The mezzanine contains a bedroom and a home office space. A bathroom and an office are located under the mezzanine. The vast room is lit by two windows to the west and a transom framing a fragment of the animal fresco from the "hunter's house".
To the east, a door provides access to the courtyard, which serves as a parking space for two cars, and to a small but adequate urban vegetable plot.
The first floor
The first floor is accessed by a late 17th century Fontvieille stone staircase restored by skilled craftsmen. The flight of stairs ends under a cone-shaped belvedere, today inaccessible, which acts as a skylight and offers a view of the moon and the starry Provençal sky at night. At the top of the staircase, a hallway separates two flats that have been combined but could be separated again.
On the eastern side to the right, there is a small study, before a long corridor leads to a master bedroom, a bathroom and a laundry room, followed by a large living room and a kitchen that leads to the curved terrace overlooking the street. On the southern side to the left, a study and a bedroom with toilet face the animal sculptures of the "hunter's house".
The second floor
This is the level of contemplation and views: over the gardens and surrounding rooftops, over the conical belvedere glowing like a ruby in the setting sun, and above all over the eastern facade of the Palais des Papes, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, which has recently been entirely restored. Access to the second floor is via a different staircase from the stone stairs that lead to the lower level. It is located in the southern part, to the left of the house, between a bedroom and a small study. While it was probably a modest service staircase in the old days, its rehabilitation included geometrically patterned tiles and simple, colourful wooden nosing.
It opens onto what was once a roofspace set back from the facade, raised in the 19th century, then closed by a picture window adorned with zinc festoons in the early 20th century. This scrupulously preserved layout creates the impression of living in a flat that is suspended from the sky.

The courtyard and the vegetable plot

A door to the east directly connects a private and enclosed courtyard of about fifty square metres to the house, providing parking space for two cars and several bicycles.
The mostly tarmacked courtyard is completed by an urban vegetable plot of about ten square metres of good soil, where herbs and medicinal plants are currently grown.

Our opinion

A comfortable townhouse, completely renovated, in which all you have to do is to bring your suitcases, your furniture and your personality. Its highly flexible layout offers the option of dividing it into several independent units with seperate entrances. Everything has been intelligently thought out, with a great deal of care and above all poetry, to simplify life and to combine the comfort of modernity with the charm of the past.
The view over the unique medieval architecture of the Palais des Papes, the vistas of the surrounding gardens and the nods to Magritte in the unexpected village lanes in the middle of the city make this an ideal residence for an artist couple who wishes to find peace and tranquillity. The city with its hustle and bustle is only three blocks away, yet it seems to be on the other side of the world.

980 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 330029

Land registry surface area 286 m2
Total floor area 300 m2
Number of rooms 10
Ceiling height 3.20
Reception area 80 m2
Number of bedrooms 5
Possible number of bedrooms 5
Garage 1
Surface Terrace 10 m2

Number of lots 21
Annual average amount of the proportionate share of expenses 306 €

Aucune procédure en cours menée sur le fondement des articles 29-1 A et 29-1 de la loi n°65-557 du 10 juillet 1965 et de l’article L.615-6 du CCH

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant

Francis Rousseau +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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