Heritage typical of the Fontainebleau region,
a “Folly on the banks of the Seine” and its outbuilding
Fontainebleau, SEINE-ET-MARNE ile-de-france 77300 FR

Location

This property stands between the quiet bank of the river Seine and the edge of Fontainebleau Forest. Constructed in the 19th century, it is in a little town just 20 minutes by car from Melun and 10 minutes from Fontainebleau. The latter has 30-minute train links to Paris-Gare-de-Lyon and is near to the A6 and A5 motorways. The train station is within walking distance as are several local shops.

Description

The main building is bordered by a little road used solely by residents, distancing it from the river Seine. Remote-controlled, metal gates open into a courtyard, separating the two buildings, linked by a first-floor walkway.
A garden extends on the other side. Lawn parterres on the lower section have been designed in the French formal manner. A flight of stone steps goes up from there to a more wooded section rising up to a low wall, enclosing the property.

The main house

This impressive house is one of those “Follies on the banks of the Seine” whose commissioners belonged to the new middle-classes of the 19th century. Courtesy of the rapid growth of the railroads, said middle-classes became more and more numerous. They spent the summer months in the country and the winters in Paris. Following their lead, many artists joined them in search of inspiration in the surrounding area. Such was the case for Émile-Rochard, director of several Parisian theatres including the Châtelet theatre, who had this property constructed from an old priory, whose chapel still exists today.
Although composed of a succession of composite buildings, this property nevertheless remains homogeneous. The first, the central section of which is the tallest, features an impressive semi-circular-arched, second-floor window, with wooden-framed, small panes, enhanced with stone baluster railings. It is followed by a square turret, with a first-floor terrace, supported on robust brick pillars, which is, in turn, topped with a second floor featuring half-timbering, all of which is crowned with a very steep hip, slate roof. Third in line is the old chapel. The rear facade comprises a taller building, with crow-stepped gables reminiscent of the Netherlands. Next to this, protruding from the first floor, a corridor and a bedroom, with corbelling, are copiously illuminated via a series of wooden-framed, small-paned windows. Once again, the second floor is enhanced with half-timbering. The facades are covered with white rendering, under roofs covered with slate or terracotta tiles.
And lastly, the main building spans approx. 470 m² of living space spread out over three levels, built over a cellar.


Ground floor
The entrance set in the rear facade opens into a hall, the very high ceiling of which lets visitors admire the orientalist paintings hanging on the walls. It houses a toilet and is separated from the main entrance hall, leading to the street, via two stone columns, where a wide stairway goes upstairs. The black and white floor tiles, laid in a chessboard pattern throughout this level, are a guarantee of elegance and soberness.
On one side, a corridor enhanced with painted wainscoting provides access to a kitchen, a back kitchen as well as another entrance hall, reached via the courtyard. Said hall houses a stairway going up to the first floor which enabled domestic staff to reach the walkway leading to the annexe building, without having to go through the main entrance hall. A dining room, spanning approx. 48 m², is laid out in the old chapel under a ceiling more than 5 m high. Visitors are further surprised by its colourful, wooden Saint-Nicolas perched in the recess of a gothic window, keeping watch on the house. Under the mezzanine, a large, neo-gothic-style, stone fireplace is, however, reminiscent of a 19th century era reclaiming the medieval past.
On the other side, a double lounge, spanning more than 50 m², features a wide French window. A marble fireplace enhances the first section, whilst the ceiling, supported on two impressive stone columns, goes up to a height of approx. 5 m in the second section. Here, a painted, wooden stairway, its newel post decorated with a gilded putto, goes up to a balcony corridor, with walls lined with carved wooden bookshelves.

First floor
Upstairs, the landing provides access to a covered terrace, facing the river Seine. The main bedroom, bright courtesy of its two windows looking out over the water, features a black marble fireplace, flanked by pilasters and enhanced with a trumeau. It has its own bathroom and toilet. The balcony corridor and its bookshelves lead to a bedroom-study with a terrace. This level also has a bedroom, with a dressing room, a second bathroom, with a toilet, and the old mezzanine, now closed.
Second floor
A spacious landing provides access to a number of rooms, amongst which a small bedroom, in the tower, features three windows, providing wide views over the river. Another bedroom, overlooking the courtyard, also stands out courtesy of its countrified wallpaper. A bathroom has a red marble fireplace, topped with a trumeau, featuring a medallion enhanced with cherub motifs. And finally, a corridor leads to a bedroom, adorned with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling panelling, with its own toilet.
However, the most impressive room remains that spanning approx. 42 m², with a ceiling going up to a height of 5 m, supported by impressive wooden columns, featuring Corinthian order columns. Courtesy of its vast, semi-circular-arched French window, with wooden-framed, small panes, it enjoys a panoramic view over the meandering river Seine. Opposite said window, a similar door is lined with mirrors. Another four semi-circular-arched doors, also lined with mirrors, are topped with panels depicting 18th century gallant scenes. A trumeau, with a panel depicting musical motifs, enhances a white marble, Louis XVI style fireplace. And lastly, parquet flooring completes the decor.

The annexe building

This annexe building stands on the other side of the courtyard, adjoining the sloping plot of land. It is linked to the first floor of the main building by a metal walkway. Its facades, covered with white rendering, are topped with a terracotta-tile roof, with a small bell-tower. Said facades feature hanging dormer windows and a higher, central section, enhanced with crow steps.


Ground floor
Used for utilitarian purposes, the ground floor includes a garage, spanning approx. 50 m², a boiler room as well as two storage areas.
First floor
At the back, the first floor becomes the ground floor and houses a flat, spanning approx. 64 m². It comprises three rooms, a kitchen and a shower room, with a toilet. A third storage area completes this level. A door in the perimeter wall on this side, provides independent access to the street.

Our opinion

This house is theatrical, eclectic, surprising and elegant all at once, just like an expression of architectural freedom, in short, a real “Folly”. This is not very surprising considering that its commissioner was none other than Émile-Rochard, director of some of the biggest Parisian theatres. It is equally unsurprising that the owner entrusted the project to a stage designer. Each room is like a different stage set: residents can move from a chapel to a “cathedral” lounge, to a spectacular bedroom worthy of a chateau or, even, to a balcony corridor with corbelling.
Everyone from Paris’ theatrical world would have been invited to sumptuous parties organised in both the house and the parklands. Its privileged site, alongside a no-through embankment which, importantly is not subject to flooding, gives unobstructed views over the river and the neighbouring houses, rivals in elegance and originality. Its proximity to the train station is a real asset: if the property’s stage sets are not sufficient, a myriad of theatres, just 30 minutes away, offers plays that are not only classical, but also full of fantasy.

1 299 000 € Negotiation fees included
1 243 062 € Fees excluded
4.5% TTC at the expense of the purchaser


See the fee rates

Reference 270609

Land registry surface area 5120 m2
Main building surface area 470 m2
Number of bedrooms 7
Outbuilding surface area 175 m2

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant


Gilles Baleria +33 1 42 84 80 85

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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.

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