3 km from Crevecoeur-en-Auge, 20 km from Lisieux, in the French department of Calvados
This property is 215 km from Paris via the A13 motorway and 30 km from the “Côte Fleurie” (Coast of Flowers) and its coastal towns such as Cabourg, Houlgate and Deauville. Lisieux, with all the useful infrastructures of a town with 20,000 inhabitants, is just 20 minutes away. Its train station provides 1¾-hour links to Paris. A village and its local shops are 3 km away.
The manor house
From ruins dating from the time of Julius-Cesar to a fortress built just before the reign of William-the-Conqueror, major modifications were then made in the 15th and 18th centuries giving this manor house its current appearance. At the end of the Second World War, the property was used as a hospital for German troops and was involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Falaise Pocket. Its reconstruction, started immediately after the war, was completed in 1952. It resulted in the wing extension and the adding of new openings.
This manor house was built in an L-shape, comprising a building with a wing set at right angles. It is constructed from half-timbering. The lower sections are composed either of quarry stone blocks, surrounded by dressed stone, or a wall alternating rows of quarry stone blocks and the dressed stone that was also used for the quoins. The gable roofs are covered with old tiles. The half-timbering’s masonry filler is composed of small bricks and broken tile fragments. These were often laid so as to form geometric motifs. The openings are numerous, their surrounds are sculpted. Wall plates form corbelling. Some end in a vorant. Two protruding gable trusses are covered with chestnut weatherboarding whilst the upper section of the rear gable is clad in slate. The manor house is preceded by a terrace paved with pink granite from Ploumanac’h.
The cellars can be reached via a stone stairway concealed behind a door in the large entrance room. The intertwining corridor, hall area and cellars notably house a laundry room and a boiler room.
This level features numerous openings: tall windows and French windows. One of the doors opens off the terrace into a vast room, paved with large square tiles. Beams and joists as well as some of the half-timbering are exposed. A dressed stone fireplace adorns one wall. The severity of its geometric lines is offset by the brown brick hearth being curved. Two wooden pillars support a beam and separate two windows on one side and two French windows on the other. A wooden stairway, with a carved handrail and balusters, treads paved with cement tiles from Pré-d'Auge and newel posts topped with a bevelled wooden ball, leads upstairs. Vast, broad, colossal and monumental are some of the adjectives that come to mind in this room. A door next to the fireplace provides access to a fully tiled kitchen and its door leading outside. On the opposite side, a door opens into a large lounge. The walls and the ceiling are painted in a light hue. The floor is laid with Versailles pattern parquet flooring. Light floods in through numerous openings. One wall is adorned with a marble fireplace. The embellishments are similar in a bedroom behind the lounge. A fully tiled bathroom is very well fitted out.
The stairway goes up to a landing that provides access, on one side, to a second reception lounge as well as a bedroom to the rear and, on the other, to two adjoining bedrooms.
This second lounge is also very bright. Its decoration comprises more wood; pillars, beams and joists are exposed. The floor is also paved with old terracotta tiles, set in wooden surrounds. The chimney jambs, lintel and breast are all made of dressed stone. The rectitude of the lines is softened by the curved, brick hearth, just like the one in the entrance room.
The floor in the bedroom behind the lounge is laid with Chantilly pattern parquet flooring. Wood is also omnipresent on the walls and ceiling. A contemporary, brick and sculpted stone fireplace adds a mineral touch. A door opens into a bathroom, the walls of which are tiled.
Two adjoining bedrooms, on the other side of the landing, are followed by a bathroom. Beams, joists and half-timbering decorate the first, together with Versailles pattern parquet flooring and a sculpted stone fireplace.
This level has slightly sloping ceilings. The wooden stairway goes up to a landing which provides access to two adjoining attics on one side and to a succession of three hall areas on the other. They lead to three bedrooms, a bathroom and two shower rooms as well as storage rooms. The hall areas could be laid with parquet flooring by mixing the Versailles and Chantilly patterns, or even laying a strip pattern. The half-timbering, beams and joists have been left exposed in places.
Reached via a back wooden stairway, this succession of four attics all have sloping ceilings. The floors are laid with old tiles. Some attics are insulated whilst the roofing framework of others has been left exposed. All the attics are illuminated via openings in the gable walls or via roof dormers.
The two long buildings with their corner towers
These buildings delimit the castle perimeter and originally had moats running alongside them. Three round towers adjoin their external corners.
One of the two is extended by a building set at right angles, near to the entrance gates.
They are very similar in appearance: inside the courtyard, half-timbered walls, with small brick and broken tile fragment masonry filler, are supported on Saint-Jean brick lower sections. The half-hip roofs are covered with flat tiles. Both walls and roofs feature numerous openings. Outside, the walls are constructed from brick and reinforced with buttresses. The outside wall of the building on the west side, the one receiving the prevailing wind, is clad with rectangular tiles, each nailed in five places.
One of the two buildings comprises but a single room, with an exposed roofing framework. The second, spanning two levels, houses staff accommodation at one of its ends.
The towers are constructed from brick. Dressed stone forms the window surrounds. Their candlesnuffer roofs are covered with flat tiles.
This chapel is devoted to Saint-Nicolas, the Norman cult of which dates from before the Scandinavian invasions. The origins of this chapel go back to the 12th century. It was given in perpetual alms to Sainte-Barbe-en-Auge abbey, destroyed during the French Revolution. It has been the subject of numerous disputes between the castle’s successive owners and the monks. Reconstructed and moved several times, it was rebuilt on its current site in 1745.
Inventories, petitions, proceedings and other queries concerning this chapel are preserved in the charter room.
The walls are constructed from Saint-Jean brick and topped with a curved hip roof, covered with flat tiles. Dressed stone was used for the framing around the openings and the quoins.
Inside, the roofing framework is exposed. The altar is constructed from half-timbering and paved with tiles from Pré-d’Auge. Two stained-glass windows, created by a master ceramist, represent Sainte-Jeanne-de-Chantal and Saint-Nicolas.
The charter room
The dry ditches surrounding this building were cleared a few dozen years ago. The base of the charter room was then revealed; round, it was the foundations of a tour similar to the other three. Tradition has it that under Louis XIII, only royal castles could have four towers. The partially rendered walls are constructed from Saint-Jean brick. They are topped with a flat tile, candlesnuffer roof, featuring a roof dormer. Buttresses crowned with little stepped roofs help give this partially polygonal charter room its particular shape. A door opens on to a stone stairway that leads to forgotten dungeons. A few steps go to a porch covered with an awning. A spiral, stone stairway leads to the actual charter room itself, a toilet is on a half floor, then a bedroom, its fireplace and a wash-hand basin. The rooms are paved with old terracotta tiles.
The dovecote and the annexe buildings
Outside the old moat, a dovecote has been built in the middle of a meadow. Polygonal in shape, it is topped with a candlesnuffer roof, featuring a roof dormer and covered with flat tiles. Its half-timbered walls are filled with small bricks and broken tile fragments. The roof is topped with a sort of bell-tower.
Not far away is a construction reflecting the same architectural codes as the manor house. Half-timbering, with brick masonry filling, is supported on quarry stone block lower sections. Half-way up, a half-roof, covered with flat tiles and taking the form of an awning, runs around all four sides of the house. The walls on the second level are built of brick. A gable, covered with wood cladding, features four small openings under a protruding truss.
In a little wood preceding the entrance to the manor house, another construction, this time on piles, once again reflects the fundamental construction codes of the estate: half-timbering, brick masonry filler, protruding truss and flat roof tiles.
The natural surroundings
A wood covering the west section of the knoll protects this stately property from prevailing winds. A sequoia tree in the courtyard looks down on the buildings. Behind the manor house, elm trees top a hillock that houses the old ice-cave. Meadows slope gently downwards on the south and east sides. They form a sort of link with the surrounding bocage countryside.
A region generally renowned for its typical architecture and gastronomy with, here and there, some prestigious horse stud farms and famous castles from the Middle-Ages. It is equally well-known for its hills and dales, its bends and short straights, dotted with houses bearing names such as “Lieu”, “Cour”, “Haut”, “Bas” and possibly “Mesnil”. Its affiliation to this land is further confirmed by the architectural harmony of all the constructions. Space is firmly defined. Time passes elegantly.
|Land registry surface area||10 ha 72 a 57 ca|
|Main building surface area||550 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||1100 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||7|
Yann Campion +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.