in the historic district of Autun
In Burgundy, Autun is renowned for the wealth of its heritage and its scenic surroundings in the midst of Morvan Regional Nature Park. The perimeter wall, enclosing a section of the town, is a reminder of its Gallo-Roman origins, “Augustodunum”, founded by the emperor Augustus. On the heights of Autun, the cathedral, the canonical district and the Ursulines tower bear witness to its medieval history. In the 18th century, the bishopric, the military schools and numerous mansion houses were constructed. In addition to its history and its geographic location, Autun is made further attractive by its dynamic economy and its tourist trade. It also has some very good schools. 30 minutes from a TGV train station, Autun is less than 2 hours from Paris and 1½ hours from Lyon. Switzerland is 3 hours away by road.
The mansion house
The rendered facades feature exposed dressed stone quoins at each end. A cornice enhances the roof, covered with Burgundy tiles, and two string courses mark the levels of the different floors on the facade. The openings on the courtyard side are laid out on either side of a porch, with stone surrounds, small-paned windows and solid wooden shutters. A corner turret, dating from the late 16th century, adjoins one side of the facade. Its entrance opens on to a wide, semi-engaged, spiral stairway which goes upstairs and to the garden via an outside walkway. The facade wall on the garden side adjoins the old, listed Gallo-Roman rampart which can be glimpsed in places along the rendered facade. It is enhanced with a central balcony, whilst the roof features two roof dormers, letting light into the converted attic space.
Moulded, double entrance doors open into a vast through entrance hall, with a French ceiling and Comblanchien Burgundy stone floor tiles. A wide window at the end of the entrance hall looks out over the garden. On one side is a vestibule, with a large, hanging, turning, dressed stone stairway, adorned with wrought iron railings featuring foliated scrolls and foliage. Said vestibule extends into a large, through lounge, with six small-paned windows, parquet flooring, panelling with wall coverings and an 18th century, pink marble fireplace. At the end of the lounge, a door opens into a library featuring a spiral stairway, made of moulded wood. The library opens, in turn, back into the entrance hall. A small lounge and an adjoining dining room both have French windows opening on to the garden. The kitchen, which can also be reached directly via the courtyard, adjoins the dining room. It opens into the entrance hall of the stairway tower which provides access to every floor, making it very easy to move around the house. Two utility rooms, awaiting conversion, communicate with the dining room. They can be reached via the garden as well as a small, enclosed courtyard set behind the turret.
On one side of the vast landing, a bedroom, with a cupboard set in the panelling, communicates with another bedroom. A bathroom, with a bath, is communal to both these rooms. An adjoining study has a fireplace. A large gallery, on the left-hand side of the landing, provides access initially to the main bedroom, with its central French windows opening on to a balcony overlooking the garden and giving views of the countryside and Gaul’s Couhard pyramid. Another two bedrooms follow one after the other on the garden side, with a large bathroom, fitted with a bath and a toilet. At the end of the gallery are a bedroom, with an adjoining bathroom, and a hall area, with a door leading to the tower stairway.
Reached via the tower stairway, a section of the attic space is converted into a reading room which opens into two bedrooms, with roof dormer windows, and a shower room with a toilet. It communicates with a large attic, with linen cupboards. Previously converted, the other end of the attic can be reached via the main stairway, the second, wooden flight of which has baluster railings. A landing provides access to a large, through room, followed by a small room on the garden side. These are illuminated via hinged skylights.
This mansion house is constructed over a full floor of vaulted cellars, ventilated by basement windows. This level is reached via a door set under the main stairway. A large corridor provides access to five cellars, one of which houses an oil-fired boiler. The biggest cellar is used for wine. One of its walls is lined with brick compartments for laying down the bottles.
A garage in the courtyard comprises one large room on the ground floor. The upstairs, reached via the garden, has two rooms.
An equally spectacular, outside stairway, in line with the monumental gateway, provides access to the parklands. The house is constructed between a courtyard and a garden in keeping with the traditional layout of 18th century mansion houses. The walled garden is in front of the south facade.
This south-facing, walled garden is reached via two French windows, opening from the little lounge and the dining room, or via the utility area. The large lawn, enhanced with shrubs and three large white cedar trees, has a view of the Ursulines tower.
Highly theatrical, a turning stairway, enhanced by elegant, wrought iron railings reminiscent of the house’s main stairway, leads to a landing laid out like a balcony with railings. The first landing leads to the garage level, then a large, straight stairway goes to the parklands comprising an ordinary garden and a vegetable garden. A round, ornamental pool is set in the centre of the ordinary, square-shaped garden. Pathways lead to the pool and border the lawns with apple trees on two sides. On the left-hand side of the garden, on a little terrace, a wrought iron arbour is embellished with climbing plants, from under which it is possible to admire a view over the countryside, with the Couhard stone in the distance, and the dominating Ursulines tower. A henhouse is set along the end wall.
On one side of the garden, an iron gate opens into a walled vegetable garden, with a spectacular view of the cathedral spire. On the other side are several rabbit hutches and a pathway that goes around the square vegetable garden, with its cement border. At the end, a greenhouse with a shed houses the old boiler room. Next to it are several planters intended for growing seeds and herbs.
This 18th century mansion house, with its 3,500 m² of parklands, stands out in Autun, not only because of its location and its architecture, but also because of its history and its views of several historic monuments and the surrounding countryside. Its monumental carriage gateway indicates a privileged place, away from the town, in a verdant haven that calls for peace and quiet. Future owners will have to carry out some works to give it back all of its splendour of yesteryear; there is great conversion potential throughout the attic space. It would also be possible to increase the surface area of the property by purchasing a large 3,200 m² meadow, ideal for grazing horses, in a magnificent location at the foot of the Ursulines tower, as well as an adjoining barn.
|Land registry surface area||3498 m2|
|Main building surface area||426 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||100 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||7|
Marie de La Ville-Baugé +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.