in a densely wooded setting, 1½ hours from Paris, in Burgundy
This property stands in the natural area of Puisaye, where the borders of the Orléanais, Nivernais and Burgundy regions meet, near to a historic town which has welcomed such famous characters as Mahaut-d'Artois, Philip-the-Fair and La-Grande-Mademoiselle. Despite the ravages of the One Hundred Years’ War, numerous battles between the Bourguignons and the Armagnacs, several historic monuments escaped the confrontations, for example, an old 2-storey, covered market, featuring half-timbering filled with brick, on pilasters from the Château-de-Montargis.
Paris is less than 150 km away. An SNCF train station, just a few minutes away has links taking a little more than an hour with Paris-Bercy.
Very sober gates open on to a property planted with trees, hundreds of years old. Consequently, numerous animals appear to be guarding the chateau. A gravel passageway is used as a parking area in front of the main entrance. A small, fenced garden behind the house is ideal for enjoying family meals during the summer months. An old kennel on one side indicates the importance once attached to hunting. A little further away, a large courtyard surrounded by farm buildings is closed, on the east side, by a large gateway with gates and, on the north side, by a wall with a small opening, providing access to the garden. Surrounding the building are copses, meadows currently used as lawns and an orchard. The property is watered by a well, fitted with a pump. The same well supplies water to the house. Two lakes are to be found in the surrounding forest.
This residence was long owned by the well-known Larousse family. Jules-Edmond-Hollier-Larousse, born in Toucy and nephew to Pierre-Larousse, acquired this chateau and its game-filled grounds in 1890. His coat-of-arms adorns one of the outside walls of the house.
A rich, elaborate architecture characterises the building. A large, 3-storey pavilion, dotted with miscellaneous openings, is enhanced with a large tower, in front of which extends a belvedere. The first section, laid out longwise and known as the “little house”, completes the main building. The contour and profile are embellished with brick and stone toothed quoins. Local brick framing surrounds the doors and windows. Furthermore, the facade is enhanced with several decorative features such as an opening, on the ground floor, topped with a semi-circular moulded arch, crowned with a Medici vase and highly wrought railings. The main entrance is extremely impressive courtesy of its brick arcading and, above all, its terracotta coffered ceiling which resembles the mosaic parterre cleverly laid in a geometric and floral pattern; a setting taken from Ancient Rome. The various floors feature gemel and semi-circular arched windows. Gutters are adorned with protruding gargoyles or highly wrought ironwork. The slate roofs featuring pavilion roof dormers on the tower, a bull’s eye window topped with a satyr or a figurine and a highly wrought finial are far from monotonous.
Double glazed doors let copious amounts of light into the entrance hall, the mosaic paving of which begins outside and continues through to a dining room. A vestibule provides access to a partially fitted kitchen, a back kitchen, with a door leading outside, followed by a dining room. Facing the entrance, a second dining room, with parquet flooring, is lined with wainscoting, edged with cymatium moulding. Three double windows enhance the oak wood parquet flooring. An open-hearth, marble fireplace, topped with a gilt trumeau completes the decor. A little, straight wooden stairway begins with a shallow stone step and leads to the bedrooms in the “little house”. The vestibule provides access to two adjoining, comfortable bedrooms, with views over the little garden. The dining room opens on to a large reception room, made extremely luminous by, amongst other things, a series of three double windows, protected by highly wrought railings. The clarity highlights the quality of the herringbone pattern parquet flooring and an elegant open-hearth fireplace reveals a splayed stricture, featuring coloured arabesques. Marble tiles extend the surface of the hearth in front of the fireplace. A ceiling enhanced with moulding reinforces the distinguished character of the lounge. Wide, double doors provide access to a second, more convivial reception room which is equally elegant, courtesy of its herringbone pattern parquet flooring and its wainscoting. Double doors open directly into the entrance hall which also houses the main stairway. The latter features balusters and begins with a shallower step.
This level comprises two large, very bright bedrooms with wide windows providing views over the surrounding countryside. One of them adjoins an additional room, with a wash-hand basin, which could be transformed into a bathroom or dressing room. Two bathrooms complete this floor. One of them features gemel windows in a good state of repair. A little wooden stairway goes to the “little house”.
A corridor provides access to eight bedrooms, most of which still have a marble fireplace. Although the windows are smaller than on the first floor, the bedrooms are just as pleasant and comfortable. The little wooden stairway goes from here to the ground floor bedrooms. The “little house” side is especially appreciated by children and their parents as they can be together, whilst staying within easy reach of the kitchen and the outside.
This level is taken up by two bedrooms, one of which has a small ladies’ sitting room and, the other, a bathroom.
The outbuildings are composed of a succession of farm buildings that form a closed courtyard. They are without doubt older than the chateau. Spanning a surface area of approx. 1,000 m², they predominantly comprise cowsheds, barns and farm sheds for housing tractors. The gable roofs are topped with traditional, local, flat tiles. The facades are covered with an ochre-coloured lime-rendering. The doors opening on to the outside are made of thick vertical planks, held in place by crossbars and strap hinges. Brick surrounds frame the windows. The smallest building comprises oculi intended to air the attic. Although perfectly harmonious, these buildings are also in need of meticulous restoration works.
A large number of architectural features, marking a great stylistic unity, immediately draw a visitor’s attention, especially as they include all the local architectural archetypes. The outside has been redone and the facade is, therefore, in pristine condition. This impressive residence does, however, require some investment in order to give the interiors back their splendour of yesteryear.
It is a property that will greatly appeal to enthusiasts of 19th century aesthetics, with its elegance and middle-class home comforts.
Everyone will want to pick the dandelion flowers from the area around the residence and blow their clocks in memory of Burgundy’s famous dictionary compiler.
|Land registry surface area||15 ha 59 a 76 ca|
|Main building surface area||485 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||1000 m2|
Isabelle Ponelle +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.