in Vaucouleurs, in the Land of Joan-of-Arc
3½ hours from Paris, 2 hours from Luxembourg and the Belgian border, less than an hour from Nancy and Bar-le-Duc.
Vaucouleurs is a little town laid out like an amphitheatre on a hillside dominating the left bank of the river Meuse amidst fertile grasslands. It is the small market town from which Joan-of-Arc left under escort in February 1429 to join Charles VII in Chinon in order to convince him to drive the English out of France. The local enthusiastic population clubbed together to provide the future saint with men’s clothing.
A vast courtyard, closed by old wrought iron gates, sets the house right back off the street. A set of rear gates, letting vehicles in, open on to a completely walled garden. It is planted with tall trees, forming a further screen. The garden also includes a small single-storey house, in use as a summer kitchen, as well as a vast garage.
The courtyard facade, built from pointed quarry stone blocks, has two entrance doors, one for the main house and the second leading to two self-contained flats.
The double-glazed windows, featuring straight stone lintels on the ground floor and arched lintels on the first floor, are fitted with roller shutters.
The Mansard-style roof, covered with interlocking, slate tiles, features four stone roof dormers, sculpted with scrolls and diamond shapes.
The rear facade, more imposing than the front, is flanked by a pavilion. Set at right angles, it houses the flats, whilst the main building comprises the house and the old “chartil” where carriages were once kept.
Contrary to the courtyard facade, the windows are arched on the ground floor and straight on the first floor. The door to the old “chartil” is topped with small basket-handle-arched windows.
The slightly lower, protruding pavilion features windows, with straight stone lintels, and bull’s eye windows, sculpted in a star-shape.
The facades are lit by large lanterns.
A heavy, oak wood door opens into a through entrance hall which extends to the garden. Said hall is lined with wainscoting and features mosaic floor tiles as well as doors topped with neo-classical style medallions, centrally decorated with the profile of a Greek priestess of Bacchus straight from a Dionysian retinue. Two lounges, on either side, look out over the courtyard. One of them, the walls of which are hung with fabric under a plain cornice, has a marble fireplace and strip pattern oak wood parquet flooring. It opens into a dining room, with dark wood panelling and oak wood flooring, where an outstanding ceramic, wood-burning stove takes pride of place. The second lounge has a painted ceiling, featuring fruit trees and flying birds, panelling and oak wood flooring. It communicates with the kitchen, where the electrical appliances blend harmoniously with a large, preserved cupboard and a stone sink. A door opens into the old paved “chartil”, laid out as a workshop, a laundry room and a boiler room. This area also communicates with the first-floor library via a rustic stairway.
An oak wood and wrought iron stairway goes up from the central corridor to a landing. A first bedroom, overlooking the courtyard, has a moulded ceiling, featuring corner floral decoration, and indoor wooden shutters. It opens into a small room in use as a dressing room. On the other side of the corridor, overlooking the garden, is a bathroom, with a free-standing bath, a shower and a toilet. Its stone fireplace has been preserved and it also has a more functional radiator. It is followed by a second bedroom, whilst a third bedroom stands out courtesy of its oriental decoration. It has its own shower room, flanked by an old, intricately sculpted door from Morocco. The corridor continues to a large library. An old spiral stairway goes down to a study on the floor below.
A door, identical to that of the main house, provides independent access to the flats from the courtyard. A long corridor, paved with large flagstones, leads to a first small flat on a half floor, which was recently restored throughout. It consists of a living room with a kitchen and a bedroom, with a shower room and toilet. The second flat, larger than the first, is on the first floor. It comprises a lounge, a fully fitted kitchen, a bedroom and a shower room, with a toilet.
Both flats are free of occupation and have not yet been rented.
This wing is built over cellars and an additional studio flat could be created in a room, right at the entrance to the corridor.
The little house in the garden
Laid out all on a level under an interlocking tile roof, this little house is divided into two sections, forming a vast garage and a summer kitchen, with an eating area on its covered terrace.
An austere-looking courtyard and an unpretentious facade conceal several wonderful surprises. The comfortable interior of the house, enhanced with invaluable features, is one and the invisible garden is another.
The two self-contained flats could provide a source of income or accommodate several generations of the same family.
|Land registry surface area||1000 m2|
|Main building surface area||318 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||100 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||3|
North & West Marne and East Aube department
Florence Fornara +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.