on the outskirts of Swiss Normandy in the French department of Orne
This property, where the boundaries of the three French departments in Lower Normandy meet, is 290 km from Paris which can be reached in 130 minutes by train from a station 9 km away. Caen, with its airport and flights to London as well as the south of France, is 60 km away. A large town with all infrastructures is 9 km away whilst a little market town, with local shops and amenities, is but 3 km away.
The manor house
The manor house, fiefdom of Ronfeugerai, belonged to the Saint-Bômer family, liege subjects of the Count of Harcourt. It was one of the first descendants that gave it its name: the “Fief Enguerrand”. It changed hands several times in accordance with the various allegiances of its owners during the One Hundred Years War as well as the Wars of Religion.
It is composed of the stately home, a first continuing extension set slightly back and a second, with a bread oven, set at right angles at the back. The gable roofs are covered with tiles. The walls are constructed from rows of limestone quarry blocks. The corners of the walls are composed of dressed granite stone, alternately laid lengthwise and end on. The same technique was used to frame the doors and mullioned windows.
Inside, the construction materials are exposed: exposed stone walls, ceilings featuring oak wood beams and joists, terracotta floor tiles. The fireplaces are an integral part of the walls, their centre is partially dressed stone and partially quarry stone blocks, lintels are made of stone or wood. The double hearth fireplace in the main living room also supports the fireplace in the main bedroom above it, courtesy of a curved dressed stone chimney breast. They extend on to the floor courtesy of an exterior hearthstone, either made of stone or small, diagonally laid bricks.
The door opens directly into a dining room which leads, on one hand, to a lounge, with a wooden stairway going to two upstairs bedrooms and, on the other, to a door leading to the two extensions which house a lounge and a bathroom, in a recess, followed by an adjoining bedroom, with a bread oven in the centre of the fireplace.
Two bedrooms are laid out on either side of the stairway. The master bedroom is preceded by a room in use as a dressing room. Both spacious and extremely bright, they each have their own bathroom and toilet. Their large fireplaces and window seats in front of the double mullioned windows are the mark of several centuries of history.
Constructed a century later, the “gendarmerie” is so-called as it once housed the guardsmen protecting the fiefdom. It comprises a house, with a tower set at right angles, featuring round and vertical loop-holes. An outside stone stairway, set perpendicular to the middle of the house, provides access via two entrance doors, separated by three steps. The left one opens into a kitchen whilst the one on the right-hand side opens into a lounge. The walls feature exposed stone, topped with exposed ceiling beams and joists whilst the roofing framework enhances the lounge. Large white stone tiles cover the floors throughout.
The basement is laid out as a living room. It is illuminated by horizontal openings set in the top of the walls. A few stone steps lead to a wooden door that opens on to the courtyard. This L-shaped basement includes the surface area of the tower, the walls of which also feature loop-holes.
A kitchen, a lounge and a study in the tower are the only rooms. The lounge has a cathedral ceiling over half of its floor surface area, leaving the fireplace to go right up to the roof. Two stairways, one above the other, go, on the one hand, to a mezzanine which provides access to two bedrooms and, on the other, to a second living room in the basement. The kitchen also has a similar style fireplace. A spiral stone stairway in a corner goes to an upstairs bedroom and to machine rooms in the basement. The fireplace and a monumental professional kitchen range face one another. A door provides access to the swimming pool.
The wooden stairway in the lounge leads to a mezzanine which provides access to two bedrooms. The main bedroom has a toilet at the end of the bedroom and a bathroom. It is separated from the mezzanine by double, sliding doors that, when open, reveal the size of the lounge and the full height of the fireplace. A corridor leads from the mezzanine to the second bedroom and its bathroom.
The swiming pool
An extension, set at right angles between the “gendarmerie” and the barn, has been constructed using materials dismantled from a building, dating from the same era. The rear facade features wide picture windows. They separate the swimming pool from a terrace that borders the extension, which can be reached from the garden via two wide flights of steps. Two machine rooms have been installed under the swimming pool.
The barn constitutes a single room, featuring openings that include two wooden carriage doors, two doors, high windows and roof dormers. A fireplace, similar in style to that in the “gendarmerie” and those in the manor house, takes up the full height of the building. The contemporary floor covering is composed of large square tiles. This is clearly a function room.
This old house awaits renovation.
These outbuildings include a carport, set behind the manor house, a workshop and a garage on the edge of the property as well as an old barn in the middle of the field, used for storing fodder amongst other things.
Lawns surround the property. Further away, they give way to fields, small woods and a dried-up lake. An enclosure which contains the swimming pool terrace is laid out behind the “gendarmerie”.
There is, of course, a legend stating that a tunnel links this property to the little medieval town nearby. Visitors do not need to use a great deal of imagination to be drawn to the very special charm of this property, dating from the Middle-Ages or the first Renaissance period: it exudes a blend of severe plainness and deep compassion. Modern-day home comforts have been discreetly installed here such that stone takes pride of place courtesy of the history and the sober beauty in which it is steeped. Finally the large number of autonomous areas, the large reception room, the swimming pool and the wooden terrace surrounding it, exude enormous potential. The local area, known as Swiss Normandy, with its rocks, its steep slopes and its forests, is more than worthy of its name.
|Land registry surface area||3 ha 48 a 30 ca|
|Main building surface area||600 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||460 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||5|
Brune Boivieux +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.