its paintings and its Rocaille-style gypsum, in Avignon
Inside the town ramparts, not far from Place-de-l'Horloge, along Rue-Bancasse (once Magna-Carreira, then Grand'Rue-de-la-Muse) which was for several centuries one of the Pope City’s main shopping streets, with its boutiques and its many money changers.
As of the end of the 17th century, this district became home to several mansion houses, including that of the Cappeau-de-Saint-Marc family, constructed during the 18th century.
The town of Avignon has an airport, two train stations, including one for TGV trains, and a very recent, much-appreciated tramway which helps to reduce traffic in the historic centre and provides links to the suburbs beyond the city walls.
The main, west-facing facade borders Rue-de-la-Bancasse. The dressed stone building bears witness to a great classicism, enhanced with the finely wrought railings of a first-floor balcony, looked down on by an arched pediment.
The balcony is supported by the stylish rear vault of the pedestrian door surround. Double doors open on to a vast stairwell, providing access to the rooms on the ground and first floors.
This flat takes up the north wing on the first floor. Two west-facing windows look out over Rue-de-la-Bancasse, whilst all the rooms bordering the interior courtyard face south. The courtyard facade features five narrow, semi-circular arched openings (two French windows and three windows).
The interior courtyard is partially covered with a contemporary metal structure, enabling the flats on the first floor to have a terrace, encircling the courtyard.
This flat also comes with a parking space in the basement, once the mansion house’s old kitchens, reached via Rue-Galante.
The quarters of Miss Cappeau-de-Saint-Marc
This flat is composed of a succession of four adjoining living rooms that border the interior courtyard.
The decor is said to have been created for the daughter of a wealthy merchant, originally from Roquemaure. All the rooms are individually decorated in a pure Rocaille style and still have particularly unique features such as panelling and paintings (attributed to Charles-Joseph-Natoire, who was born in Nimes in 1700 and who died in Castel-Gandolfo in 1777).
The first room is illuminated via two tall, west-facing windows, featuring coloured stained glass, the interior surrounds of which are curiously topped with two landscape frescoes, accompanied with gallant scenes and decor composed of instruments. This former music room has been cleverly divided, perpendicularly to the roadside facade, creating, on the one hand, a vestibule and, on the other, a kitchen, concealed behind tall panels revealing the ceiling and preserving an impression of the room’s size.
The second and third rooms, currently in use as a lounge and a bedroom, face south and are widely illuminated by tall, large-paned windows. Fitted with indoor shutters, they overlook the courtyard.
With richly decorated panelling and paintings with floral motifs decorating the edges of depictions of edifices, half-way between buildings symbolic of the region and allegorical visions of ancient sites, both reception rooms have a fireplace.
The last room is illuminated but by one window, overlooking the courtyard, and still features an alcove which ingeniously conceals a bathroom and a separate toilet. The subjects praise love, symbolised by a pair of doves, and abundance, represented by fruit and floral bouquets. The paintings also draw parallels between local and Roman constructions (notably showing the Popes’ palace in Castel-Gandolfo), fantasy of the painter or request of the commissioner to enhance his image as much as possible such as with the coat-of-arms, topped with a crown, adorning one of the fireplaces.
The old floors, most probably covered with terracotta tiles, have been replaced with superb, recuperated parquet flooring, laid in a herringbone pattern, and in the lounge, the most ornate, with an outstanding parquet flooring featuring inlaid marquetry.
Miracles do sometimes happen as is proved by this flat, with its Rococo decor still intact. This miracle is even more spectacular because the paintings, attributed to Charles-Joseph-Natoire (1700-1777), are accompanied by friezes painted by the hand of an equally illustrious contemporary of the young prodigy from Nimes, a decorator painter native of the Vaucluse department, Alexis Peyrotte (1699-1769).
The quality of the work and the excellent state of preservation of the sculptures, the gilding and the paintings are particularly outstanding. They are all currently subject to a historic monument preservation report, intended to ensure that this invaluable example is protected and maintained in its original setting; an example which will delight all enlightened enthusiasts of the Age of Reason.
|Land registry surface area||120 m2|
|Living space||120 m2|
|Number of rooms||4|
|Number of bedrooms||1|
Ménélik Plojoux +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.