in the south of Burgundy
The market town is in the Bresse region, at the foot of the Revermont-Jurassien mountains, an hour from Lyon, scarcely any longer from Geneva and 20 minutes from an airport with flights to London, Bastia, Porto and Marrakech. It has been a strategic site throughout history, having been a border and, much later, a resistance stronghold.
This property, protected by its stone walls, is barely visible from the street. Only the rampart and the square tower, notably the remaining, 12 m high wall, can be seen by passers-by. Three different entrances provide car access to the property: the large wrought iron gates, flanked by stone pillars topped with pinecones, the gate on the ground floor of the tower and the wooden garden gates which are extremely practical for the upkeep of the parklands. The easiest entrance for pedestrians is the wrought iron gate set in the stone wall or the only door of the house opening on to the street. This medieval, studded, wooden door is topped with a lintel featuring two ogee arches. The coats-of-arms that were on the keystone have been erased.
In the main courtyard laid with square paving stones, alongside the perimeter wall, a large atrium is used as a conservatory for citrus and laurel trees. It precedes the rampart and its square tower. A second paved courtyard, down a few steps, between a projection of the house and the rampart, forms a terrace, superbly sheltered from the sun and the wind. This property’s new owners will appreciate its discreet parklands which are out of sight of the courtyard and can only be seen once through the passageway in the rampart closing the terrace. The parklands include a swimming pool on a corner of the property, beyond a lawn and tall trees. A French formal garden, on the other side of the house is bordered by boxwood.
This stone house has a gable roof. The typical Saracen style chimney stacks have square bases and comprise two levels of openings, covered with overhanging eaves. This building was most certainly originally a barn and stables. The stone facing, the arched openings protected by wrought iron railings as well as the Spanish and French style doors demonstrate the excellence of the restoration works from the outside. The house spans 3 levels; the top floor is an attic under the roofing framework and could be converted.
The door opens into a little lounge set out around a fireplace with a closed-hearth fire. A vaulted alcove discovered during the works has been transformed into a showcase. The room is illuminated via a window looking out over the street and a small window overlooking the large courtyard. The floor is covered in marble as are all the floors on this level. A wide corridor then leads to a laundry room, followed by a fitted kitchen, both closed by superb old Spanish style doors.
The rounded room opens on to an outside terrace, sheltered by the rampart. A small landing, with a cupboard, provides access to a state room, with its ivory-coloured French ceiling, impressive fireplace, exposed stone walls and marble floor tiles laid in a chessboard pattern. A sort of balcony corridor, with a beige marble floor, running the length of the lounge and a level raised by three steps, is closed by highly-wrought iron railings. A French window opens on to the French formal garden. The small lounge-library also has a door opening on to the garden. This harmonious room features marble flooring, wall panelling and bookshelves as well as eggshell coloured walls. It is followed by a corridor leading to a water supply point and a toilet, the stairway going upstairs or back to the kitchen and the dining room. The latter is laid out in a reception room in a corner between the garden and the street. Two of the three windows illuminating it have drop arches. The ceiling is enhanced with cornices and moulding, whilst the walls are decorated with chest-high panelling. A bar is concealed in a cupboard, closed by sliding mirrors, a feature that could be preserved or easily removed in accordance with the new owners’ wishes.
Straight in front of the flight of wooden steps, an old, studded ironwork, eyebrow-shaped door which appears to be that of a cupboard, provides access to the room under the roof. The vast landing is C-shaped, with a little 3-step recess in the middle of the load-bearing walls. This level has spring parquet flooring throughout. Overlooking the French formal garden is, first of all, a fully tiled bathroom exuding the charm of a very large mansion hotel in the 1900’s. In the adjoining bedroom, two wrought, oak wood doors conceal two cupboards set in the corners of this room with its moulded ceiling. It precedes a dressing room, followed by another bedroom, the second bathroom featuring brand name tiles. The next two bedrooms, in a corner under the gable of the roof, have a superb view over the courtyard or the parklands and the Jura foothills. Double doors provide a more private access to the bedroom on the parklands side.
Overlooking the tower and the paved courtyard is another dressing room, with plumbing laid on such that it could be converted into a shower room, followed by a shower room and toilet, and, lastly, the fifth bedroom on this level, slightly protruding in relation to the facade.
A single, continuous room under the roof is currently in use as a storage area. Already illuminated by real windows set in the gable wall, it could easily be converted into living space.
The main outbuilding
The second outbuilding, above the wine cellar, spanning 3 levels in the square tower, is very elegant. It offers a multitude of real possibilities, with an existing 12th century building in its original condition, exposed stone walls, loopholes, a wall-walk and unusually high ceilings.
Partially underground under the ramparts and naturally aired, it is ideal for laying down wine.
A vast room on a level with the courtyard under a French ceiling, illuminated by two windows, is currently used for storage purposes. This area could be converted into a guest dining room.
The exterior stone stairway in the courtyard, sheltered under a single-sloped roof, provides access to the 1st floor of the rampart. This room, illuminated via four windows, is currently used as a storage room.
A narrow, wooden flight of steps, closed by a hatch, provides access to the top floor, under the roofing framework. This area is not used by the current owners.
The outbuilding with road access
This stone building closes the property’s perimeter wall on the street. A dozen metres high, it is topped with a gable roof.
A very large room is currently used for garage and storage purposes. With its access, independent from the rest of the property, it could be used for commercial purposes.
A wooden mezzanine, laid out in the building on the road side, is used as storage space.
A second mezzanine, laid out on the rampart side, provides access to the wall-walk.
The third outbuilding, converted into a garage and a study, in the courtyard
This building, with its large wooden garage door, faces the entrance gates. Spanning two levels, it is topped with a single-sloped roof.
This vast room is currently used as a garage and a storage room. It also houses the oil-fired boiler.
Reached via a wooden stairway, this area is used by the current owners as a study and spare bedroom.
The L-shaped garden, set out around the ramparts and the house, is protected by the perimeter walls. It is divided into three areas: a lawn with tall trees, a swimming pool and a French formal garden, with a border along the wall and two symmetrical parterres planted with boxwood. Gravel alleyways make it easy to move around between these three tranquil areas.
In the courtyard, a room laid with square paving stones is now used for storing tools and products used by the gardener. With its date-engraved, stone font, this former oratory would be the perfect place to once again host family prayers.
Backing on to the perimeter wall, a wrought iron and glass greenhouse is laid out for the gardener, ready for taking cuttings, growing seeds and storing fragile plants during the winter. It has a water supply point.
The swimming pool
The 10x7 m swimming pool is set out in a corner of the property, out of sight of the courtyard and the outbuildings. Becoming progressively deeper up to a depth of 3 m, it is ideal for relaxation and sports purposes. A tiled terrace, laid around the swimming pool can be used for sunbathing or for eating meals.
Only one of this market town’s thirty-six ramparts remains and it belongs to this partially listed, immaculately kept property, made private by its stone walls. With its beautifully landscaped and planted parklands, it is set in a small, easy to reach, lively village with a good tourist trade. The dry stone walls, the ironwork and the cypress trees around the swimming pool give it a southern air. All these impressive buildings abound in interesting architectural and decorative features. Historic events have continually occurred in this area where supplies were organised for the French Maquis in the Jura and Savoy regions or where leading Resistance fighters were sent to London or Algiers during the Second World War.
|Land registry surface area||2450 m2|
|Main building surface area||438 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||350 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||6|
Fanny Proffit +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.