on the heights of Saint-Prix village on the edge of Montmorency Forest
“Chance you upon the hill to know,
Which joins Montlignon to Saint-Leu,
A terrace leaning on the brow,
'Twixt sombre woods and skies of blue?”
A translation of the words Victor-Hugo used in 1856 to describe Montmorency Forest and the village of Saint-Prix where he spent many summers. In his book entitled “Contemplations”, the poet immortalised the delightful, quiet, little town, standing on the side of one of the hills covered by Montmorency Forest. A town in the countryside, with a wealth of history and nature, where the riches of the Ile-de-France region meet. Nowadays, in the 21st century, it has become a highly sought-after place of residence, not only for its quality of life and its setting, but also for its proximity to all the regional economic development centres and the many road infrastructures such as the A115 motorway. Paris is some 20 km away via the A115 and the A15 motorways, and 25 minutes away via line H of the “Transilien” suburban train service. Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport can be reached in 30 minutes. Several schools are nearby. Standing in one of Saint-Prix’s typical streets, tightly winding its way slowly up from the village to the forest, this fanciful house, set well back and protected from onlookers by numerous age-old trees, is barely visible from the road.
A chalet usually features as an intrinsic part of the mountain and alpine culture. It is, therefore rare to find one on the edge of the French Vexin Regional Nature Park. And yet, this 19th century chalet is to be found, perfectly integrated with the local landscape, in the midst of Saint-Prix, adjoining Montmorency Forest. A search for authenticity and noble materials have made these premises not only unusual, but also comfortable. The low roof, with its two equal slopes, overhangs on every side, making it possible for its residents to move easily around and, above all, to take advantage of the sheltered exteriors. Vast French windows, opening on to the terraces and wrought balconies that surround the chalet, let copious amounts of sunlight in throughout the day and provide a view stretching as far as Paris and its surroundings. Blurring boundaries with the inside, natural scenery floods in on every side. This setting is an ode to a “mountain in the countryside” art of living and an invitation for future owners to spend convivial moments with family and friends.
The garden level, easily reached from both the inside and the outside, also acts as a basement and storage area. An interior, dressed stone stairway goes down under a brick vault to cellars, a storeroom, a laundry room and a boiler room. A vast room, with a small-brick-lined ceiling and three semi-circular arched doors opening on to the garden, can be used as living space as it has electric wiring, heating and a water supply point.
A few steps lead to a wooden extension housing a small entrance hall, lined with brightly coloured glass panes. It opens into a spacious vestibule, making it easy to move around the entire ground floor and providing access to the triple aspect reception rooms as well as a fitted kitchen, with a 3.4 m high ceiling and extended by an east and south-facing terrace. On the right-hand side, a wide stone and wood stairway goes to the bedrooms upstairs. Double doors facing the vestibule open into two lounges, one of which has a protruding window, following a family dining room opening on to a terrace and one of the balconies. The latter provides a view of a tall cedar, planted at the time of the French Revolution and now the symbol of Saint-Prix, as well as the house and perched studio of the painter, Albert-Maignan. Period door and window frames, herringbone pattern parquet flooring laid in 1856, walls and ceilings featuring elegant moulding and roses. This level has the advantage of unspoilt and untouched, refined finishing touches and decorative features dating from the 19th century. The highlight being the view that irresistibly attracts all visitors, who find themselves drawn as if hypnotised from the vestibule or the lounges to the terrace and the balconies.
The stone and wood stairway goes up to the first floor. A large landing, illuminated by a French window opening on to a balcony, looking out northwards and over Montmorency Forest, leads to a corridor, the floor of which is entirely covered with period parquet flooring. It provides access to four large bedrooms, three of which face south. Each one has a dressing room. All the bedrooms are bright, have parquet flooring and look out over the garden and Paris. On one side, the main bedroom, with its fireplace topped with a pink and beige marble mantel, is extended by a balcony reached via two French windows. A bathroom, with a shower, is shared. The toilet is separate. On the other side is the second bedroom, with its dressing room. Another bedroom, identical to the first, also has balconies, a fireplace and storage space. A study, set in a corner of the house and also featuring a fireplace, could be transformed into an additional bedroom.
The second stairway goes up to the top floor, where there are period terracotta floor tiles throughout. It comprises a guest bedroom, with a balcony and a fireplace, as well as another three bedrooms. Two attics and a room which could easily be transformed into a second bathroom, completes this level. Once again, it features balconies and wide openings looking out over the verdant surroundings, the forest and the French capital.
This south-facing chalet, in its verdant, flower-filled setting, is ideally located looking out over Paris. Its numerous rooms, including those used for reception purposes, offer an unobstructed, distant view of the French capital. It would almost appear that the City of Lights is kowtowing to the terraces and the multi-coloured roses. The architecture blends originality with many old decorative features. Immaculately preserved, they make this elegant place, both haughty and authentic. Although in need of some improvement works to regain all of their splendour of yesteryear, these superb rooms still have all of their character and real conversion potential. Here, it is possible to start writing like Victor-Hugo, to create poetry like Edmond-Rostand, to paint like Albert-Maignan or, quite simply, to dream peacefully whilst watching the sunset.
|Land registry surface area||2500 m2|
|Reception area||82 m2|
|Living space||479 m2|
|Number of rooms||10|
|Surface Garden||2500 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||6|
|Possible number of bedrooms||2|
Nathalie Dubreuil +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.