where the borders of the Champagne and Lorraine regions meet
2½ hours from Paris via the A4 motorway and 2 hours from Luxembourg. 15 minutes from Bar-le-Duc, one of France’s most outstanding urban Renaissance towns, known as a “Town of art and history”. It has been famous for centuries for its “Bar caviar”, an exquisite jam which is made with redcurrants that have been deseeded using a goose feather, an art that is unique in the world.
Shops and all amenities are a kilometre away in a neighbouring village.
The stronghold house
This stronghold house was constructed during the Renaissance era from rendered quarry stone blocks and Savonnières stone, a wonderful, local, beige-tinted limestone which over time takes on a bluish-grey patina. Spanning two levels under an attic floor and over vaulted cellars, it is topped with a roof covered with fish-scale tiles (1981). Its corners support two watch-turrets and a tower, with slightly sprocketed roofs, topped with weathervanes. A stone string course and potbellied potteries known as “sparrow pots” adorn the main facade. This usage dates back to the Middle-Ages when sparrows, young starlings and bluetits were eaten. The presence of these birds also had the advantage of eliminating caterpillars and insects at a time when pesticides were unknown. The openings on the ground floor, most certainly enlarged in the 18th century, are symmetrically aligned with those on the first floor which, intact, still feature their wrought iron railings.
A few stone steps in the middle of the building lead to the entrance door. Installed in the 1970’s, it is made of glass and wrought iron. The floor in the vestibule is paved with large flagstones, any gaps having been filled with cement. On one side are two adjoining rooms. The first has oak wood flooring, laid in a strip pattern, a French ceiling and a 17th century stone fireplace with a trumeau. The second, at the end of the building on the road side, has oak wood flooring, laid in a ladder pattern, and a painted, 17th century stone fireplace under a paster ceiling, lacking in ornamentation. The kitchen is on the other side of the entrance hall. Its cement floor tiles, its vast 16th century stone fireplace and the two little rooms concealed behind glazed doors bestow it with a very special character. It precedes a room, with panelling and an alcove, a painted, 17th century fireplace with a trumeau and oak wood flooring, laid in a strip pattern. This room opens at the back into a little blind room. The bathroom and toilet are in a small extension created in the adjoining barn, set at right angles to the rear of the house. It can be reached via the kitchen. A corridor runs the length of the rear facade and leads to the tower as well as to a stairway going upstairs. Double wooden doors, at the back of the house, open into a little courtyard.
This level, under the uninsulated roof, is used as an attic. It comprises a vast area, spanning approx. 180 m², and could easily be converted.
This space under the roof could also be converted to give a surface area of approx. 138 m².
The numerous outbuildings all date from different eras. Some could possibly be demolished. The red brick stable, closing the end of the courtyard, stands perpendicular to the house. Spanning approx. 180 m² over each of two levels, it was constructed from rendered quarry stone blocks in 1930. The arched openings feature red brick and dressed stone surrounds under a roof covered with interlocking and Roman tiles. It adjoins a vast barn, spanning approx. 210 m², built at right angles, one wall of which has partially collapsed. Its roof, covered with interlocking tiles, remains weathertight. And lastly, a final building spanning approx. 41 m² closes the courtyard. Partially modified and most certainly constructed at the same time as the stronghold house, it notably houses a small room, once home to the bread oven and featuring vestiges of a basket-handle-arched opening. A second barn, spanning approx. 176 m² and missing part of its roof, is set at right angles to the rear of the stronghold house and adjoins another 28 m² building which closes the small rear courtyard. And lastly, an old cowshed, spanning approx. 366 m², is made of sheet metal with an asbestos-cement roof. Standing parallel to the stable, it could accommodate fifty or so cows.
The somewhat boastful air reflected by the main facade between its watch-turrets appears to be frozen in an eternal smile. Although neglected, nothing is irreversible and this appealing historic edifice is but waiting to have new life breathed into it.
Suitors, filled with enthusiasm and gallantly seeking to awaken this sleeping beauty, will be amply rewarded in return.
|Land registry surface area||5350 m2|
|Main building surface area||500 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||2|
|Outbuilding surface area||900 m2|
North & West Marne and East Aube department
Florence Fornara +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.