In the French department of Vendée, overlooking an eponymous river,
a luminous chateau in 7 hectares of parklands
Fontenay-le-Comte, VENDEE pays-de-loire 85200 FR

Location

This property, named after the spring that ever rises under an aedicula in the parklands, has a natural boundary in the form of the river Vendée. The commune’s main market town is worthy of its French “Petite Cité de Caractère” (little character town) distinction and not just because of the superb example of local Romanesque architecture provided by its church’s portal. Its shops, consequently, provide somewhat more than essential items. The town of Niort (110-minute TGV train links to Paris TGV) is 30 km away and the Atlantic Ocean, with its long sandy beaches, is 75 minutes away.

Description

This chateau, composed of rendered facades topped with slate roofs, features three levels of large windows. The west facade, flanked by two round towers with candlesnuffer roofs, has a central, protruding bay with a pavilion roof. With three bays on either side, the central section of the east facade, protruding only on a level with the ground floor, is topped with a terrace.
The comfort of the interior can be seen in the aesthetics of the floors and wall panelling as well as the spaciousness or cosiness of the rooms in accordance with their vocation. For instance, the three lounges and two dining rooms on the ground floor can be used as all kinds of living rooms, not far from a new, very modern kitchen in a tower, the old kitchen having been transformed into a library-television room.
On the first floor, a luminous corridor and the landings of the two stairways provide access to seven bedrooms, two of which have their own bathroom and three their own toilet, whilst a third bathroom and a shower room have been installed on a mezzanine between the two levels.
On the second floor, four bedrooms and a shower room leave room for the attic space.
Variations in the lie of the land and the natural surroundings prevent any monotony in the parklands with their vast, horizontal lawns, a steep slope down to the river, wooded copses and lakes.
The outbuildings, comprising a caretaker’s cottage with two flats and the old stables under an attic-barn, bear witness to the existence of an even earlier chateau.

The 19th century chateau

The current building, dating from the 1880’s, is the work of architect Joseph-Libaudière. It took the place of a bigger, U-shaped, 16th century chateau, of which remain the lower sections of a wall, towers looking out over the river Vendée and the building’s current cellars. The initial extensive grounds included a mill and a bridge over the river.
Although the two facades differ greatly from one another, they are united by the large windows set in the slate roof and topped with acroteria on curved as well as triangular pediments, by the overhanging cornice with corbels and by the string courses that form vertical panels between the openings.
On the west facade, two round towers with candlesnuffer roofs flank five bays, the central, protruding one of which is pentagonal in shape and topped with a pavilion roof. On the east facade, the central section protruding only on the ground floor and the Baroque style bull’s eye windows set in the roof enhance a more sober, overall appearance.


Ground floor
This level houses the many reception rooms, with their varying aspects and sizes, the ceilings of which are more than four metres high. The central section, from one projection to another, is taken up by a large dining room on the west side and by one of the lounges on the east side. To the left of this section, a large, through lounge features walls lined with moulded panels, as in all the rooms. It is embellished with a fireplace. At the north end of the chateau is a large spiral stairway, housed in the round tower, and a third, double-aspect lounge. On the other side of the central section are a little dining room, an elegant vestibule housing a stairway going up to a mezzanine, the old kitchen with its limestone floor tiles, tall fireplace and a “potager” (a secondary hearth where soups and other previously prepared dishes were cooked on embers), cleverly converted into a study-television room and, lastly, a modern kitchen with stone floor tiles.
First floor
This level is taken up by bedrooms which open on to the landing of the main stairway as well as that of the secondary stairway and, between the two, on to a wide corridor, made luminous by two windows on the west facade. Most of the seven bedrooms have fireplaces, two have their own bathroom with toilet and three have their own toilet, whilst the mezzanine between the first and second levels houses a third bathroom, a shower room and a toilet. The central bedroom opens on to an east-facing terrace, with a delightful view.
Second floor
This level is reached via the secondary stairway. A bedroom has been installed in the south tower. A little hall area provides access to two other, communicating bedrooms and a shower room with a toilet. A fourth bedroom is illuminated via a bull’s eye window. The remainder of the space on this level is taken up by an attic which is illuminated on both sides by windows and bull’s eye windows. The excellent state of the roof is obvious.
Cellar
Fully vaulted, these stone cellars are vestiges of the old chateau. They are illuminated via wide basement windows.

The caretaker’s cottage

This exposed stone building, its roof enhanced by an overhanging cornice, is divided into two flats. One flat, currently occupied by staff, comprises a large room, with a fireplace, on the ground floor, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Opening on a different side, a flat with impressive exposed stone walls is now in its finishing stages.

The outbuildings

These outbuildings, like the caretaker’s cottage, are older than the current chateau and possibly date from the 17th century. Edged with an overhanging cornice, the roof of this long stable-cowshed was redone in 2009. Arched windows illuminate a vast barn-attic on its upper floor.

The parklands

Spanning a surface area of almost 7 hectares, the parklands form a superb view and provide hikers with a variety of level and steep trails. Its varied vegetation includes large, grassy areas, isolated trees over a hundred of years old, copses and a decor to soothe the soul with 18th century railings, lakes and statues. The bank of the river Vendée forms a right-of-way used by several of the neighbouring farmers to get to a pumping station.

Our opinion

It is not difficult to understand why the current owners fell in love with such a tranquil property, its parklands exuding touching beauty and the reassuring chateau well aware of its status. The river forms a loop at its feet. The building has been lavished with the care it so deserves and all that remains is to furnish the rooms which, although all different, are unified by the copious amounts of light flooding in through the large openings: a success favoured by such a setting. This building simply abounds in cosy areas for reading, writing and simply being happy as well as having the wherewithal to accommodate guests. Set around a bend in the road, it creates a wonderful surprise as it comes into view.

950 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 470536

Land registry surface area 6 ha 69 a 31 ca
Main building surface area 600 m2

Regional representative


Jean-Pascal Guiot +33 1 42 84 80 85

contact

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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.

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