facing its vast, private island on a tributary of the river Loire
Between the French departments of Deux-Sèvres and Maine-et-Loire, vines are already gaining on farming. In a landscape that is never quite the same, rivers flow northwards; the confluent of two of which is near the site of this old mill. The main river will go on to swell the Loire in the Valley of Anjou. Embodying a certain image of France, the nearby village includes a Romanesque church, a large, quiet square, a restaurant, a bar-tobacconist, a grocery, a post office and a school. A train station in a little town, 8 km away, provides 3-hour links to Paris.
This L-shaped building constitutes two sides of a courtyard, accessed from a door in each section, and a large, 2-car garage, topped with an open attic. The walls, constructed from freestone and quarry stone blocks covered with freestone, feature openings marked on the longest section with lintels and sills as well, half-way up, as freestone blocks that bring wings to mind. Two Jacobin-style roof dormers rise up out of the local slate roof. They dominate the roof on the millrace and river side, covering the mill like circumflex accents.
These rooms, probably cooler than those upstairs, are to be recommended during the height of the summer heat. In the longer wing, the one including the garage under a lower roof, double doors provide access to the old machine room. The cogwheels, currently condemned, are visible behind a low circular wall. The floor is paved with stone, bearing the patina of time. A door on the river side opens on to the millrace, the three sluice-gates of which have to be operated by the owners when necessary, and on to the dyke which, crossing the weir, leads to the island. Several living areas have been laid out at right angles to this section. First of all, a large kitchen-dining room, featuring a fireplace with a granite base and a wooden lintel, is illuminated on two sides via three windows, fitted with metal bars. The door leading out into the courtyard is double-glazed as is that of the machine room. Between the latter and the summer kitchen-dining room, an intentionally cosy, lounge-library is extended by a bedroom, with its own shower room, and a separate toilet.
A winding, wooden stairway, typical of mills, goes up to the first floor, leading to a long, wide corridor, made extremely bright by its three double-glazed windows that look out over the entrance courtyard. The windows of three bedrooms, with parquet flooring and arched doors, overlook the river. One of these bedrooms has a bath and a wash-hand basin. The exterior walls feature exposed stone. The last door is that of the old kitchen (sink) transformed into a small lounge, receiving light through two windows. At the end of the corridor is a toilet with a window overlooking the river, and, on the right-hand side, an immense living room, with its exposed roofing framework, takes up the entire shorter wing.
All the interconnecting sections of this room, dining area, kitchen and lounge, are used at various times of the day. It is heated via a freestone fireplace and four double-glazed windows, letting in the rays of the sun on three sides. A small water heater for the washing up, completes that on the ground floor.
A highly original ladder-stairway goes up to a large bedroom under the slope of the roof on the river side. It is very luminous courtesy of two skylights and two other windows at floor level. The attic space could be converted.
The garden and the island
The mill’s estate is predominantly composed of a very large island. Spanning more than 1.5 ha, its upkeep is entrusted to goats who do an extremely good job. As the land can be covered with water, attention has to be paid to the poplar trees which also have the advantage of providing firewood for burning in the house’s two fireplaces. Access to the island is possible in the summer via a ford which crosses the arm of the river formed by the millrace and the weir. In all seasons, apart from when the water is running high, a dyke provides a very easy passageway. At one end of the island, the view upstream spanning the full width of the river, with its small waterfall, is a sight that residents can but appreciate.
Human presence on the one hand, with small-scale, civilised leisure activities in the form of a fishing lake, and almost wild natural surroundings with omnipresent water on the other. This mill bridges the gap between two of man’s ever-vying, but complementary cravings which potential buyers, thus captivated, will see as a golden opportunity to add their own personal touches once the basics have been achieved. The inside is spacious without being vast. The island in the middle of the river is just made for adventure. These premises will appeal to generous hosts and Robinson-Crusoe enthusiasts alike.
|Land registry surface area||18822 m2|
|Main building surface area||266 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||5|
Jean-Pascal Guiot +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.