2½ hours from Paris in the Hauts-de-France region
This chateau, 1¾ hours from Lille, 2¼ hours from Brussels and Calais as well as 3 hours from Luxembourg, is in a natural region, featuring valleys where woods, orchards and pastureland leave little room for crops. It contrasts with the many monotonous, rolling, limestone hills of the neighbouring regions. Springs abound, rivers crisscross the land in every direction and the quantity of running water explains the beauty of the forest cover.
The region, like a little Normandy set between those areas in northern France renowned for their Champagne and beer, produces cider.
This property is in a dominant position on the outskirts of a little village with less than 300 inhabitants.
Although there are no direct neighbours, this property is not isolated.
This chateau is a superb brick and stone building, topped with steep slate roofs. Its construction began in 1780, on the site of an old medieval fortress, and was completed in 1782.
It comprises a 2-storey building, flanked at each of its ends by two taller, slightly projecting pavilions, with roofs featuring breaks and roof dormers. It is extended on the left-hand side by a small, 2-storey building. The openings alone are enough to make the composition of this chateau sober and harmonious. They are identical on the rear facade, facing the parklands.
The double, oak wood, glazed doors, in the centre of the building, are topped with an inflected pediment, bearing the coat-of-arms of the commissioning lord.
The front entrance opens into the main central hall. Paved with polished stone inlaid with black marble decoration, it is extended to the end on the right-hand side by a bright corridor, simply decorated with panelling. The vestibule provides access to a toilet, with a wash-hand basin, under the stairway and a small lounge which has a 19th century marble fireplace and herringbone pattern, oak wood parquet flooring, just like the dining room following it which has an 18th century marble fireplace. Both rooms are muted and cosy, protected from the direct light flooding into the corridor along the south facade.
These rooms precede a kitchen, which takes up the entire small pavilion. The main room in the chateau, it stands over a vaulted cellar, spanning the same floor surface area, and has a small door, partially glazed with small panes, leading outside. Its 52 m², quite simply representing all the charm and flavour of country houses, feature unevenly laid, odd terracotta floor tiles, a brick fireplace and exposed beams.
A large 48 m² lounge, on the other side of the main hall, has Versailles pattern parquet flooring and an attractive black marble fireplace, decorated with floral motifs. Extremely bright, it opens into a study, with terracotta floor tiles and exposed ceiling beams, on one side and, on the other, into a library which also features heavy, exposed ceiling beams. The marble fireplace, topped with its trumeau, provides it however with the gracious appeal and fantasy of its decor against a background of polished oak wood panelling. The flooring is laid in a strip pattern.
Displaying its arabesques, the oak wood stairway goes up to the middle of a large corridor which provides access on either side to seven bedrooms, a bathroom, three shower rooms and a linen room.
The size of the bedrooms varies from 12.5 to 58 m². Almost all of them have a 19th century marble fireplace. One bedroom has its own shower room, whilst two others are set on either side of a bathroom. A third bedroom surprises with its secret passageway in a cupboard which communicates with a fourth bedroom. The layout is pleasantly unusual, with a second stairway which goes down near to the kitchen.
Another two small rooms are also included in this lovely maze.
Most of the rooms have wooden flooring but also hexagonal terracotta and terracotta brick floor tiles. The large bedroom has coconut matting.
The stairway continues up to the second floor, in the attic space where there are another two small bedrooms, with marble fireplaces, and a delightful shower room, with wide strip pattern wooden flooring.
An attic, at each end, exudes the air of a cathedral courtesy of its exposed beams.
The outbuildings comprise several aligned buildings, constructed from quarry stone blocks, brick and stone.
The first houses a theatre, the second a stable with four horse loose boxes, a dwelling comprising a kitchen, a dining room, three bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as a garage and a workshop.
Behind these buildings are a henhouse and a 10x30 m, sandy riding arena.
A hectare of pastureland with a shelter is at the end of the parklands.
Laying claim to the French “Jardin remarquable” (outstanding garden) classification, these parklands form an arboretum comprising some exceptional species.
These so-called landscaped gardens were designed in the 19th century. A French formal garden, with boxwood squares, existed near to the residence. They can be seen from the chateau’s terraces, looking down on to the lawn.
An alleyway winds through the parklands, providing access to ash-leaved maple trees as well as a 36 m tall Lebanon cedar, with a 7.40 m circumference, which has dominated the parklands for almost 250 years.
Himalaya cedar, giant sequoia, purple beech, ginkgo-biloba and a multitude of other trees over a hundred years old are there to be admired, together with a collection of rhododendron and hydrangea bushes.
But that is not all, the still-water pool, the lily garden, the blue garden and the rose garden, designed with a circular motif just like those featured in traditional French formal gardens, are all waiting to be explored.
As was often the case in the 18th century, this chateau did not feel the need to shine with frills or fancies or other extravagances: its elegance, resulting from its regularity and balance, was obvious. Two pavilion roofs with breaks on either side were enough to discreetly adorn the verticality of the building. The pleasant way of life existing here is demonstrated by the horizontal lines, simply enhanced by a string course on one of the facades. This reserve of good taste is also intended to make way for the garden treasures, as if the building was consciously hand in glove with its natural surroundings.
|Land registry surface area||4 ha 13 a 97 ca|
|Number of bedrooms||9|
|Main building surface area||750 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||1000 m2|
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.