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The ancient stones of this hamlet, bleached by the sun and topped with Roman tiles, have a special connection with nature. With nothing to obstruct the view, it is impossible to grow weary of gazing out over the hills of Agen dotted with woods, orchards and fields. Inside, the simple and delicate decor creates a calming place to rest. This property's most beautiful feature, however, is by far the old Romanesque chapel. The elegant layout respects the traditions of sobriety whilst an intimate and majestic atmosphere lies within the carefully restored nave. Artists, aesthetes and dreamers alike will find a sense of peace here before taking a dip in the pool or strolling around the property in the cooler hours of the day.
My husband is from the region and I also know it well. I joined him here in 2000 and we started looking for a house. On a advert at the back of an Agen agency, I noticed an old photo with the comment "rare building" beneath it. The estate agent had not dared to mention that it was a chapel for fear of offending us. We visited it the next day and were enchanted by both the property and the family of owners. The chapel, transformed into a farmhouse, was listed as a historical monument but was in danger of falling into ruin. It would have taken four years to obtain a building permit, so after a year of work with family and friends (my husband is a carpenter) we were able to spend our first night here on the 24 December 2005. Subsequently, the opportunity to buy the neighboring farm threw us into a few more years of work before we opened the Roussel and its chapel to guests in 2011.
Roussel has been inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by the foundations of the Gallo-Roman villa. The foundations can be seen from above in the axis of the chapel which was built in the 12th century, and whose nave (which collapsed in the 17th century) was rebuilt using stones from the ruins of the villa. The chapel is composed of a porch that we transformed into a kitchen, a living room, a nave, a choir and an apse. The capitals of the choir were engraved during the wars of religion and some elements are still legible. We rebuilt the grandstand by enlarging it to accommodate a bedroom and bathroom. The chapel was never a parish, and several houses (only three of which are still standing) replaced the villa. We also built "Aireauterre", a large cottage in the barn that sleeps five people and has its own terrace.
The Roussel was one of the many Gallo-Roman villas that could be found in Lot-et-Garonne, Castelculier and Séviac and whose remains can still be admired. The chapel was built where the altar of the Lares gods would usually reside in a villa, this is probably where the alter stones come from. The quality of the property and the location on the hillside encouraged the inhabitants to return after the invasions at the end of the Roman Empire, the same family remained here until we bought the place. The chapel was saved from ruin in extremis several times!
Roussel is perched on the hills that separate the Lot de la Garonne. Hiking enthusiasts and pilgrims enjoy the surrounding trails. The bastides and surrounding castles are also worth visiting, but few places are as ideal for meditation and inspiration as the Roussel. The unobstructed view, the calm, the silence and the morning light that lasts until sunset create a timeless atmosphere. The acoustics of the vault will enchant musicians and singers. I also open my painting workshop to amateurs and guests are welcome to enjoy the large swimming pool.
The passionate owner of the feudal castle of Madaillan (just four kilometers away) offers lively guided tours of the places and history of the region. Also nearby is the extraordinary workshop of Dutch visual artist Astrid Tielemans. He has been in the area since 1978 and offers plastic art workshops that encourage creativity to both adults and children. Barges can be rented without a special permit for those who would like to take a stroll on the Garonne side of the canal. There are night markets in all the surrounding villages, including Prayssas.
95 € - 110 € per night
Two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and toilets are located in the "Aireauterre" building. One of the bedrooms has three single beds and the other has two beds that can be used as a double. In the chapel is a double bedroom with a bathroom and toilet.
700 € - 1000 € per week
The "Aireauterre" cottage is located in part of the barn and overlooks a large private terrace. It consists of a living room-kitchen and two large bedrooms with bathrooms and adjoining toilets. One contains three single beds and the other has two beds which can be used as a double. A TV lounge completes the ensemble. In the porch of the chapel, we have arranged a kitchen living room with a table that can accommodate up to ten guests. The extended grandstand consists of a bedroom with a queen-sized bed, wardrobes and shelves, a bathroom with a shower and an adjoining toilet. Under the grandstand, at the entrance to the chapel, a lounger facing a swing is the perfect place to seek inspiration. Guests can also enjoy the swimming pool and table tennis table.