An old inn for pilgrims and its enclosed garden
in the midst of an unspoilt village in the Upper Chevreuse Valley
Rambouillet, YVELINES ile-de-france 78120 FR

Location

Seen from above, the Upper Chevreuse Valley is a verdant stretch which has been crossed by pilgrims making their way to Santiago-de-Compostela for centuries. The village, surrounded by undulating countryside, has developed in an outstanding heritage and landscaped setting. Just a stone’s throw from Rambouillet national forest, the site is renowned for its regional nature park, its hamlets between two forests, its golf course and its equestrian activities. The proximity of the A10 motorway makes it easy to travel the 45 km separating the valley from Paris and Orly airport. Saclay as well as Massy’s TGV and RER train stations are just 20 minutes away. Furthermore, two small, neighbouring towns, less than 5 km away, have all necessary shops and amenities, whilst the village itself has schools, restaurants and a bakery.

Description

This property stands in the midst of an old Seigneurial town, placed under the protection of the vestiges of a feudal castle and a Romanesque church. Spanning a surface area of 310 m² in a 450 m² garden surrounded by high walls, the house is out of sight of onlookers and away from all nuisances. Although shown on the Napoleonic land register, the old inn had provided accommodation for pilgrims well before then due to its ingenious location alongside the Way of St James. It has two entrances off the street, including a carriage gateway providing car access, a rare feature in the old medieval village.

The old inn

A little gate opens off the street on to a wide paved alleyway, running alongside the building’s facades. A low, stone wall borders the alleyway and delimits the garden area, also paved the full width of the porch. Apart from the plain facade facing the street, the building is rendered in such a way as to leave the stone exposed and topped with roofs covered with local flat tiles.
The house is composed of two adjoined sections of different heights, accessed via two wrought doors. Whilst the taller, main house, spanning three levels, stands out courtesy of its inn heritage, the other, smaller workshop features neo-Renaissance-style ornamentation and relief. The most outstanding feature is, without doubt, its door, featuring a semi-circular-arched tympanum in a similar style, topped with its two windows, robustly inset and separated by a Tuscan-order column, all crowned with a low pediment.
Similarly, inside the building, a large number of old materials have been preserved, stone thresholds and constructions, stone floor tiles and parquet flooring, fireplaces and trumeaux, to which can also be added some fine vestiges of frescoes and decors. The rooms are spacious and have high ceilings.


Ground floor
The first entrance hall provides access to a vast lounge, a kitchen, a storeroom and a straight, wooden stairway going upstairs.
Bathed in light, the walls between the lounge and the living room have been opened up on either side of an elegant, sober, double-sided fireplace. It exudes a modern air and ingeniously separates the two areas. The beige hues of the walls, the bookshelf unit in the living room, the strip pattern, oak wood parquet flooring and the luminosity of the room reinforce the serenity of the premises and make this a welcoming, tranquil area.
The kitchen, linked to the storeroom, also a laundry room, and to the living room, can also be reached via the entrance hall. As in any old inn, there is a stone fireplace and a bread oven. Both await a new lease on life. A few, still exposed frescos, subtly bringing the garden to mind, participate in the poetry of the premises.
A second entrance hall, a corridor, paved with black and white stone tiles laid in a chessboard pattern and a few steps, and even the old door in the kitchen, are all ways of getting to the workshop, also a music room. This spacious area has a high ceiling, featuring exposed joists. In addition to a wide window, with neo-Renaissance-style decoration, light seeps in more discreetly via a second opening. When the weather is fine, a wooden-framed, semi-circular-arched, geminated window, divided by its stationary crossbar supporting triangular and quadrangular openings, projects a mosaic of light into the workshop.

First floor
The first-floor landing precedes an appreciable study area, lined with bookshelves. This area is enhanced with a corner fireplace, featuring a trumeau, edged with two neo-Renaissance-style vertical mouldings. Its southern aspect warms its strip pattern parquet flooring, laid in an unusual manner and marked by centuries of change, and can but, against all expectation, bestow it with character. The rest of the floor is taken up by another two bedrooms and their adjoining rooms. The spacious main bedroom, also enhanced with a fireplace featuring a marble mantel and a trumeau, has a bathroom, decorated in Van-Gogh blue and sienna brown, as well as a vast dressing room. And lastly, on the garden side, tall windows look out over the garden with a view of the village.
Attic
The floor under the rafters can be reached via a wooden stairway. Set between partition walls, it leads to a small lounge illuminated via a hanging roof dormer, probably once used for hoisting up merchandise. This, in turn, leads to three, west-facing bedrooms, a shower room, a toilet, and an attic which could be converted. Terracotta floor tiles are laid throughout and the stone walls have been left exposed.
Garden
Protected by high stone walls and dotted with shrubs and flowers, this garden is divided between terrace and quiet nooks and crannies laid out amidst lush flora. A neo-Renaissance-style, low, moss-covered wall forms the separation, preceded by what appears to be a fountain of ivy. And lastly, the entire garden can be accessed by romantic strollers via grassy, uneven paving.

Our opinion

“It’s architecture. It’s art that enters” (Le Corbusier). This old inn exudes not only the warmth and serenity of a home, but also the poetic and artistic inspiration of creation. The provision of accommodation for pilgrims throughout the centuries is an intrinsic part of the house’s welcoming character as is shown by the display of chimneys.
The two sections of the property harmoniously complete one another. The garden is the result of man’s age-old battle with nature. This minimalist taming of the garden, carried out by the residents, can be seen from the workshop, providing inspiration for music, painting, art. Future owners are free to decide whether or not to continue what the nearby Cistercian monks from Vaux-de-Cernay abbey began, or to devote the space to the random art of flora.
The garden and its inn are one, they have an influence on one another, it is a house of inspiration, the home of artists, with the garden part of their workshop. “It’s architecture. It’s art that enters”.

895 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 100533

Land registry surface area 650 m2
Main building surface area 310 m2
Number of bedrooms 5

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant


Marie-Lyne Mary +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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