A spa villa and its 752 m² garden in Bourbon-l'Archambault,
a spa town and former capital of the Bourbonnais region
Bourbon-l'Archambault, ALLIER auvergne 03160 FR


Bourbon-l'Archambault, 20 minutes away from Moulins, is a very pleasant spa town renowned for its Art Nouveau style thermal baths, not far from the site of the Roman thermal baths. Bourbon, set in the midst of the Bourbonnais bocage countryside in the north of the Allier department, has a pleasant appearance, with its age-old houses constructed around a medieval castle. Several spa villas and their parklands or gardens, set half-way up the hill with a view of the castle and the thermal baths, bestow the town with the air of a delightful, middle-class resort, hence the name “Villa Plaisance”, which provided pleasant lodging for those taking the waters during the “Belle Époque”.


On the hillside and along a street just a stone’s throw from the town centre, the most beautiful facade of “Villa Plaisance” dominates the town of Bourbon-l'Archambault, with an unobstructed view over the castle and the thermal baths. A little, narrow street, running along the left side of the villa, leads to the historic centre. Constructed in 1902 by François-Celle, jeweller and maker of clocks as well as spectacles in Bourbon, its design was entrusted to one of the greatest local architects of the time, Michel-Mitton, native of Moulins. It was built in the style of the Anglo-Normand spa or seaside villas that flourished during the Art Nouveau era. From the very beginning, this villa was used as a boarding house for those taking the waters. The advertisements of the time promised “Furnished family flats near to the thermal baths, shady garden and automobile garage” which was very modern in 1902.
This very tall house spans four levels. The ground floor is composed of rough granite stone, forming a base for the first-floor terrace, bordered by numerous moulded balusters.

The villa

The main facade stands on the street half-way up a hill. It features ten openings, including some that are geminated and set in the slightly protruding centre of the facade, thus breaking its rectilinear appearance. The gable roof is topped with roof dormers, the biggest, geminated one of which opens on the third floor on to the wooden balcony of the belvedere. These same dormers are topped with long-sloped, half-hipped roofs, typical of the Anglo-Norman chalet style, somewhat reminiscent of the imperial chalets of Vichy. Architect Michel-Mitton used forms, volumes, colours as well as decors and it is possible to see part of the ornamental repertoire of those Art Nouveau style villas: diversity of materials with the use of the dual colours of stone and brick as well as the first cement rendering. The quoins are made of brick and on the facade alternate brick and stone or rendering. On the ground floor, the use of rough granite stone evokes the hillside rock. Little projections, pillars and capitals on the ground floor create unusual openings for the entrances. The main facade is highly ornate. The openings have been preserved, something which is rare, and still have their original venetian shutters, topped with lambrequins. Three flat, ceramic friezes designate the various levels. That of the first floor is blue, violet and gold. The windows and entrance doors on the first level feature wrought iron grilles depicting floral motifs.

Ground floor
Two geminated doors open into a vast vestibule which was once used for welcoming lodgers. The floor is paved with its original grey and white cement tiles. Two garages are on either side of the vestibule. One of them was very soon converted into accommodation with a bedroom and a bathroom.
First floor
A right-turning, wooden stairway goes up to a landing, providing access to several rooms. On one side, the reception rooms such as a lounge, a dining room and a kitchen laid out in a rear section of the building, constructed at a slightly later date than the original building; on the other side, a bedroom, followed by a study. At the end of the corridor, another bedroom looks out over the garden.
Second floor
This level is taken up by five bedrooms.
This level comprises several rooms: two bedrooms and a room that could be used as a study, the others are used for storage purposes. The study opens on to a belvedere, a balcony with a view over the town and its castle that is free of all nuisances.
This pastoral garden still features some of the trees that were planted following the construction of the villa in the 20th century such as two horse chestnut, a lime and several old fruit trees. A bench under an arbour covered with climbing plants is but an invitation to contemplate the landscape. A vegetable garden can be watered courtesy of a well. It is on the hillside and is therefore sloping. The garden adjoins a support wall forming a terrace where the higher neighbouring property stands.
This small building stands at the end of the plot.

Our opinion

“Villa Plaisance” is one of the most outstanding houses in Bourbon-l'Archambault, especially as this villa has been in the same family for 119 years. An age-old occasion therefore to purchase this delightful property and authentic family home. This villa deserves the attention of an architecture enthusiast as the house’s architectural design can be complex. This Art Nouveau style, belvedere villa was intended to be taller, with its 3 stories, than it was wide. A few interior decoration works in keeping with its original style will give it back all of its splendour of yesteryear. The carcass is in a good state of repair. An ideal home for a large family or a property to be used for a bed & breakfast activity, its initial vocation.

Exclusive sale

399 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense

See the fee rates

Reference 737317

Land registry surface area 848 m2
Main building surface area 294 m2
Number of bedrooms 13

French Energy Performance Diagnosis


Claire Elie +33 1 42 84 80 85



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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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