set in landscape parklands in a village on the river Eure
In the Centre region of France, on the outskirts of Chartres, where the Loire and Ile-de-France regions meet. This house is one of the oldest and one of the most elegant in the little commune, out of sight in a village much appreciated by celebrities. This property is a little more than 50 minutes by train from Paris. A train station, food shops as well as health and everyday amenities are within walking distance. Just a stone’s throw from Rambouillet.
The main house
Centred around the dovecote, this house features a framework delightfully combining tradition and modernity. The very pleasant internal layout makes it easy to move around the large bright rooms, with their glazed doors and large windows.
A large vestibule, paved with old tiles and opening into the dovecote, provides access to four rooms. On one side is the key asset, a large lounge, made impressive by its size and its high ceiling, with exposed oak beams painted in pastel grey-blue hues. The rotundity of this room is an elegant feature of the home, certain corners having been redesigned over time: a white stone fireplace, dating from the 16th century, straight out of a chateau in the Touraine region, gives grace and majesty to one of the walls in this room. The traditional dove-holes are, obviously, no longer in existence and since the early 20th century, the central pivoting post as well as the cross-arms connecting the post to a turning ladder have disappeared. Touching old photographs bear witness to the layout of this lounge during the Belle-Époque. And yet, the gamble of adding modernity and comfort has in no way diminished the charm inherent in the original building. Louis XV panelled doors. A superb winding stairway extends into the corner of the dovecote, at the foot of which small-paned windows and glazed doors enhance the Romanticism of this section. A billiard room, extending the lounge, has ochre-coloured floor tiles and is steeped in light. It opens, on one side, on to the natural setting whilst, on the other, a very authentic Louis XV door gives access to a shady dining room, heated during the winter months by another fireplace. Diaphanous light and birdsong charmingly embellish the 18th century mirror trumeaux, depicting gallant scenes resembling those of painter Watteau. Opening on to the abundantly wooded terrace, this room communicates with a wide, spacious kitchen, with its old, exposed beam system.
Halfway up from the vestibule corridor and also accessed via a door in the entrance with blue-green shutters, a corridor provides access to a section with an English air comprising a bedroom-study, a large bedroom and a bathroom. This welcoming area reflects traditional decoration, with some of the most elegantly modern features: carpet and wallpaper, on one side, and plum-coloured stained-glass windows in a bathroom, on the other. Once again, small-paned windows look out over the outside. The large lounge gives access to an impressive room upstairs on what is the third level of the dovecote’s construction. Looking out on all sides, its small-paned, wooden-framed windows vie with one another to provide the best views: the porchway and the outbuildings, on one side, the landscape parklands, on the other. The severity of the Directoire-style, panelled cupboards and bookshelf units is softened by the rounded shape of a mysterious wood-burning stove. The room, currently used as attic space, awaits decoration.
Closed on one side and sound, the attic space looks out on the other side from a level laid out under the exposed roofing framework, exuding an atmosphere that is just as refined as that in the other areas of the house. A large, very bright corridor provides access to a modern shower room, with a view over the upper section of the dovecote. At the end is another bedroom, where the walls painted in Gustavian grey-green hues give the room a Louis XVI style.
The cellar is constructed in the lower section of the dovecote because, as André-Félibien-d'Aviler, historiographer to King Louis XIV, explains in his book “Cours d'Architecture” in 1691, dovecotes comprise three sections. The lower, structural section, composed of flint, has not been modified. Very sound, it is laid out around a central pillar. Its perfect hygrometry will appeal to all wine enthusiasts.
Composed of two buildings, these outbuildings form an impressive part of the former outbuildings of the original chateau which has since been separated from this property. Buildings most certainly belonging to an old hunting lodge, once part of the fiefdoms and land of Maintenon, they must have constituted stables and a cowshed, bordered by pathways delimited to direct the movement of men and cattle, in the 17th century. Nowadays, a pretty house with abundant joists, it is used as a workshop. Further on, another building is divided into two sections: on one side a spacious house opens via picture windows into a large lounge. The house has an upstairs with a wide hall area, a bedroom under the exposed roofing framework with a view of the dovecote below, a bathroom and a toilet. On the ground floor, on the other side, a spacious, robust farm shed spans almost 100 m².
The landscape gardens
It was the English Anita-Pereire, grand-daughter of Gustave-Pereire, henchman to emperor Napoleon III, who designed this property’s parklands in the first half of the 20th century. Opening on to winding pathways, the parklands comprise a vast lawn, with picturesque points of view, where painters can set up their easels without regret. Historically, the dovecote was a symbol of aristocratic privilege, the parklands had therefore to be the same! The land slopes gently down from the dovecote terraces towards the river Eure, where the launching of a small boat encourages outings, reminiscent of picnics that the Middle-classes, dressed in their Sunday best, would have under the Second Empire. Further on, rows of centuries-old trees gently break the distant vistas: plane, lime and fir trees as well as olive and palm trees, together with rosebushes and mock orange shrubs. Lavender and rose bushes form impressive beds, getting smaller nearer to the houses, whilst heath earth nourishes multi-coloured and fragrant azalea and rhododendron bushes. A woodshed and a henhouse at the end of the parklands complete this property.
“Sweetheart, come let us see if the rose, which this morning unfolded its crimson dress to the sun, has lost, at evening, the folds of its crimson dress, and its colour, so like your own.” Ronsard’s poem beautifully embodies this property which, although exuding feminine graces and virtues, is balanced by the masculine force of the robust dovecote, taking pride of place in this landscape. The cottage, in pristine condition, is without doubt linked to a first-class property: that of the village chateau with its historical connections. Flowers and intoxicating fragrances form ties with the tranquillity of the premises. The shady banks of the river Eure are a great asset to the property’s meandering scenery. Natural and cultural heritage are intimately intertwined in this region, where the relief and ancestral customs of the Eure Valley constitute a privilege for its inhabitants.
|Land registry surface area||13806 m2|
|Main building surface area||200 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||3|
|Outbuilding surface area||235 m2|
|including refurbished area||80 m2|
Olivier Borget +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.