perched on the rock facing the Popes’ Palace, on the outskirts of Avignon
This property stands in a peaceful district of the much sought-after little town of Villeneuve-lès-Avigon, a 14th century holiday haven for the cardinals throughout the 109 years the papacy was in Avignon. The secured area of a contemporary residence is set back off Chemin-de-Monteau which, as its name suggests, leads up to the heights of the town. It has to be crossed to reach a private carpark where, on the right-hand side of a 2-car garage, a little pathway leads to a metal gate. A flight of uneven steps, dotted with intermediate landings, leads from here to the house and to the small traditional Mas house below, nestling in verdant surroundings.
A short distance away, immersed amidst pine and hackberry trees, is a small traditional Mas house, with an adjoining terrace and a shady courtyard, looking down on to the rooftops of the houses in the lower part of the town.
This old house is the property of an architect. Restored and redesigned, it has a facade with plain, regularly spaced windows and, on its east side, a modern extension featuring wide openings which is crowned with a top floor, partially laid out as a roof terrace.
This modest hillside residence has been developed over the years and is now a little designer house spanning three stories, each of which can be reached via the various tiered terraces.
The old house still has a facade featuring stone-framed openings. The eaves are composed of a triple overhanging cornice, topped with a single-sloped roof covered with Roman tiles. The extension added on the east side has been constructed such that it protrudes slightly from its neighbouring facade and is enhanced with a robust balcony on the first level, the top half of which is glazed, and crowned on the top floor with a second balcony containing a roof terrace and a partial floor, covered with a glass roof.
On the ground floor, a little, clover-covered open space bordering the south facade featuring two French windows, provides access to a first bedroom with wide cupboards, concealing a small kitchen. Continuing through the lower sections of the house, constructed against the rock and comprising a shower room and a separate toilet, visitors will find a door to a stairway, going up to the first floor.
The first floor of the house corresponds to the main living space which extends on to a wisteria covered terrace. The entrance door opens into a living room, with a very high sloping ceiling, illuminated via two south-facing windows. The floor is covered with old terracotta tiles. At the end on the east side, pride of place on the wall is taken by a large fireplace, the mantel of which is flanked by old windows, marking the limit with the new extension. One of the apron walls has been removed in order to create a doorway providing access to the room continuing on from the living room which is laid out with an open-plan kitchen and a dining room, illuminated via wide picture windows.
A small vestibule adjoining the living room provides access to a stairway, going to the garden level, and also to a separate toilet as well as a dressing room.
A little, straight stairway, set at right angles on the north side of the main entrance door, goes up from the living room to the second level.
The stairway from the living room goes up to a bedroom on the top floor. Laid out in an alcove with numerous cupboards, it is extended over the new extension by a roof terrace which has a panoramic view over the Dentelles-de-Montmirail and Mount Ventoux to the east as well as Avignon and the Alpilles Mountains to the south.
At the other end, the bedroom provides access to a large bathroom, followed by an additional room, looking down on to the wisteria-covered arbour and also having a door to the outside, leading to the terrace below.
The small traditional Mas house
Standing in the lower section of the garden, this small traditional Mas house is self-contained and laid out lengthwise all on one level. Its main, south-facing facade features a door and small openings under the eaves. Topped with a single-sloped roof covered with Roman tiles, this small traditional Mas house has a little, private, west-facing terrace which can be reached either via the bedroom or via the wooded courtyard, extending in front of the small house.
The interior layout is composed of a large room featuring exposed beams with, on one side, a bedroom opening on to the terrace and, on the other side, an open-plan kitchen, with an eating area, and an adjoining shower room.
The garden, bestowing its personality on the premises, abounds in Mediterranean flora with olive, cypress and laurel trees standing next to an impressive palm tree, whilst bougainvillaea and other flowing plants colour the flower beds in the shade of pine and hackberry trees. The sloping, uneven and bumpy land, with its limestone soil, fashioned both by the hand of man and left in a natural state, has created its own composition over the centuries leaving glimpses here and there of beautiful views of the Rhone Valley as well as the Isles of Piot and Barthelasse, with Avignon in the background.
A shed and a machine room have been constructed on one of the tiered terraces. It would be easy to take advantage of this and create an ornamental pool or a swimming pool.
If the Rhone did not flow past below this verdant haven, this setting could lead visitors to think that the azure of the Mediterranean Sea would make a marvellous replacement. This modest, plain property, with an air of L’Estaque on Avignon’s wonderful bank, has discreet views of the city of popes through the tree tops, reminiscent of the landscapes much appreciated by Cézanne, Braque and Derain.
The sea is still a way away but, in addition to its ramparts, Avignon has many advantages such as, amongst others, the fact that for three-quarters of a century it has hosted the world’s biggest theatre festival in July.
The crossing takes but ten or so minutes and residents can contemplate the illustrious city from the peace and quiet of this verdant setting and from the cool interior of the thick protective walls.
|Land registry surface area||835 m2|
|Main building surface area||118 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||94 m2|
Ménélik Plojoux       +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.