in the early 19th century, near to Chartres in a hamlet in the Eure Valley
This property is in the Centre region of France on the outskirts of the Beauce Country, where the Loire Valley meets the Ile-de-France region. Sheltered in the hollows of the little valleys and the game-filled plains of the Eure Valley, it is 50 minutes from Paris by train. Food shops and local amenities are within walking distance in the town centre, just a 5-minute drive away.
The entrance to the original coaching inn has been preserved. Behind a heavy door can be glimpsed a landing, with a pinewood stairway. The entire ground floor, now cleared, awaits completion of its conversion. The few necessary works were carried out by the current owners who spared no effort at the expense, for a while, of their own comfort.
The vestibule, the main room of the old coaching inn, would have a statelier air if laid with old terracotta floor tiles, a marker of these buildings’ regional identity. It is followed by a kitchen and then two rooms which could become a dining room and a lounge. One of them still includes an old fireplace, whilst the other has revealed its secret: a curious entrance to an underground tunnel reopened by the current owners. Here they discovered touching inscriptions on slates which date from the late 19th century, a time when the property was a working farm. All the rooms on this level bear witness to an era when men and animals lived under the same roof. The lounge, once a pigsty, still has its cob walls. This room could be easily improved with lime-rendered walls, the lime also helping with hygrometric exchanges. Each room still features exposed beams and packed mud floors. The latter would greatly benefit from being covered with recuperated old wooden flooring, which is both traditional and inexpensive. Each room is bright and illuminated either via a window or via a window and a door. All the door and window frames are old, but in a good state of repair.
A long landing is laid with parquet flooring and fitted with skylights, letting in copious amounts of light. It leads to almost all the rooms on this level: a study, three bedrooms, a toilet and a meticulously completed shower room. These rooms make it possible to live comfortably whilst the conversion and decoration works are completed on the ground floor.
Two large, cob barns, most probably dating from the 16th century, stand harmoniously facing the traditional, long farmhouse to form a homogeneous property. They are spacious and their doors are old. Constructed by masons from Brittany, one of them still reveals the bones incorporated by the peasants that one of the Dukes of Ponthieu had turned out and placed in these seigneurial farms. Said bones were used for training fruit trees as well as vines and even for attaching farm animals. The barns have been installed with electric wiring and renovated. The restoration of the beam systems and the redoing of the slate roofs makes them perfectly useable today.
The biggest barn provides access to a superb vaulted cellar via a flight of stone steps. The cellar, laid with terracotta tiles, can be dated from the 16th century. It has been renovated throughout in accordance with good trade practices.
The garden, open over a wide area, and recently churned up the property’s sanitation works, is planted with various species of trees including hazelnut, fig, lilac, buddleia and wild plum. Constituted little by little, like the work of a master of pointillism, the garden area could be laid out as islets: between the two barns, near to the well, following on from the traditional, long farmhouse or even set back from the latter. There are no nuisances to disturb the serenity of these premises.
When he wrote “Les Maisons des Hommes de la Hutte au Gratte-ciel” (human housing from huts to skyscrapers) in 1937, French geographer Albert-Demangeon recalled that rural housing was closely linked to regional arts and traditions. Everything here exudes rurality. This unusual building, a coaching inn turned traditional, long farmhouse, still has all of its authenticity and is set in a small farm where time appears to stand still. Giving its back its splendour of yesteryear will no doubt be the work of enthusiasts who will undertake quality restoration works for little cost. They will, however, take care not to disturb the hooting of the owl in the moonlight, this “master of the premises” made welcome and nested by the current owners. Symbol of melancholy, it is reminiscent of the time when this robust building was an inn.
|Land registry surface area||948 m2|
|Main building surface area||156 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||92 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||2|
Olivier Borget +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.