Following in the footsteps of Rimbaud and Verlaine,
a large, luxurious home and its outbuildings
Vouziers, ARDENNES champagne-ardennes 08400 FR

Location

In a region known as Argonne-Ardennaise, 2½ hours from Paris as well as Brussels and a little under 2 hours from Luxembourg.
Undulating landscapes, forests, grazing lands as well as a rich 16th and 17th century heritage (castles and abbeys) make this unfortunately little-known region attractive.
Near to the centre of a market town with some 4,000 inhabitants, a local hospital, all schools, local shops, supermarkets, a cinema and a library, it is near to the 117,000 hectares of the Ardennes Regional Nature Park as well as Argonne Discovery Park.
The railway station, closed since 1969, saw poet Arthur-Rimbaud, supported on crutches, leave for the last time on 23 August 1891.
In 1885, the town had a prison where Paul-Verlaine was imprisoned for a month, following a complaint made by his own mother for his trying to strangle her whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Description

Closed by wrought iron gates, this house stands at the end of a courtyard, bordered by outbuildings. To the rear, a rectangular garden, enclosed by high walls, neighbours the secondary school and the sixth form college.

The large, luxurious home

The effect of symmetry, balance and harmony reflected by this two-storey house, constructed in 1840, is enhanced by the discreet nobility of its materials: local stone and slate for the roof. A slightly protruding string course embellishes the upstairs windows. The porch, reached via a flight of stone steps, is sheltered by a balcony supported on two buffered Doric order columns.
The rear facade, with the same profile and contours, looks out over the garden. Its upper corners feature Corinthian pilasters, decorated with acanthus leaves, palmettes and foliated scrolls.


Ground floor
A central entrance hall opens via double, oak wood, partially glazed doors, with wrought iron decoration. The mosaic flooring features a Greek frieze around its perimeter. It provides access to a bedroom, a bathroom and toilet, a dining room preceding a kitchen and its pantry on the courtyard side, whilst a small lounge, a reception room and a study open on to the garden. The dining room has strip pattern parquet flooring, a curved, marble fireplace, topped with a trumeau featuring a mirror enhanced with sculpted hunting decor. A stone ceiling cornice reflects the floral motif of the fireplace. The pantry, following on and preceding the kitchen, has a door leading to the cellar. The latter houses the vestiges of a blockhouse, several rooms including the boiler room, where an oil-fired boiler was installed in the 1980’s.
The plain kitchen is laid out on cement floor tiles.
The parquet flooring in the bedroom is covered with carpet and an unusual fireplace, composed of a white stone mantel, stands out against the pastoral scene of the Toile-de-Jouy wallpaper. Its jambs, curved in the upper section, adopt the shape of a console table. It valiantly supports an impressive trumeau topped with the traditional shell of Louis XV style fireplaces. The hearth is lined with cement tiles, laid in a chessboard pattern, in the fashion of the Middle-Ages with the troubadour style of neo-gothic times. The more austere-looking setting for the trumeau is reminiscent of Greco-Roman art, finely sculpted little columns and flowers having the aim of centring the eye on the central part of the trumeau. Probably coming from a school near to that of the Beauvasian master Jean-Baptiste-Oudry, a decorative wooden medallion represents an animal scene on a par with those exhibited in the Staatliches Museum in Schwerin in northern Germany. In an autumnal setting, a hunting dog appears to have spotted his prey.
The small lounge, with strip pattern oak wood parquet flooring, is lined with wainscoting. The marble fireplace, its hearth lined with fleur-de-lis and its fireback representing an amphora, with palmettes and foliated scrolls, is topped with a mirror joyously enhanced with cherubs and garlands of flowers. It is flanked by two cupboards. Glazed with small-panes, they are hung with net curtains on the inside.
The reception room reflects the Louis XVI style, the refinement of the decors and notably its outstanding wrought ceiling, blends with the herringbone pattern parquet flooring. It is lined with elegant panels of panelling that date from the Second Empire. They also embellish large, painted double doors. The room is flooded with sunlight via three windows looking out over the garden. The set of mirrors topping the marble fireplace and the consoles, with their garlands of flowers, fluting and handled vases and struts, give the room a feeling of lightness and add to the luminosity.
The study or library has a marble fireplace and terrazzo flooring.

First floor
The oak wood stairway which begins laterally in the hall is accompanied by four plaster copies of the frieze from the Parthenon affixed to the wall.
It goes up to a vast central landing, providing access to four bedrooms, spanning between 21 and 33 m², two of which have their own toilets. This level has strip pattern parquet flooring throughout which is covered with linoleum in the shower rooms and the bathroom. The latter still has its original features, with a free-standing, enamelled cast iron bath and a splendid wash-hand basin in a double vanity unit. The attic above this level features its exposed roofing framework and most certainly housed some of the household staff as two small partitioned areas indicate.

The outbuildings

The outbuildings stand facing one another and border the courtyard.
They await restoration on two levels. The first comprises a garage on the ground floor, with an upstairs flat. The second is the old caretaker’s cottage.

Our opinion

This property has been in the same family for more than a century and the atmosphere reigning throughout evokes the novels of Proust, Balzac and Tolstoy.
It is not, therefore, astonishing that actress Sarah-Bernhardt, who stayed here on more than one occasion, greatly appreciated its theatrical and poetical architecture.

Exclusive sale

270 000 € Negotiation fees included
240 000 € Fees excluded
Forfait de 30 000 € TTC à la charge de l’acquéreur


See the fee rates

Reference 683422

Land registry surface area 4039 m2
Main building surface area 368 m2
Number of bedrooms 5
Outbuilding surface area 200 m2

Consultant
North & West Marne and East Aube department


Florence Fornara +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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