with the old town of Parthenay as a backdrop
The little town of Parthenay, sub-prefecture of the French department of Deux-Sèvres, in the area around Poitiers, has some 10,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of a natural region known as La-Gâtine, where both land and inhabitants have strong personalities. Heavily undulating countryside, composed of irregular-shaped fields separated by hedges and ditches or of woods, is criss-crossed by quiet roads, on which it is possible to find little known corners of the countryside and vantage points with views stretching for dozens of kilometres around. Water is omnipresent in La-Gâtine where the sources of the river Thouet, which flows into the Loire in Saumur, the river Sèvre-nantaise and the river Vendée are to be found. Parthenaise cattle are raised for their meat, one of the best.
This residence is a few kilometres from the historic town, in a sector where meadows are combined with dynamic workshops, without causing any nuisance.
Poitiers, its airport and its TGV train station (80-minute links to Paris or Bordeaux) are 50 km away. Niort TGV train station is even nearer. It takes about 90 minutes by car to get to La-Rochelle and the Atlantic Ocean, both of which can also be reached by train via a station, just 30 km from the house.
The outbuildings extending the residence, on the right-hand side of the main facade, almost adjoin the biggest of the secondary houses which, with two levels, has no less than four bedrooms and two bathrooms in addition to a kitchen-dining room and a lounge.
The second secondary house has its back turned to the first two houses. It is in fact the first one to come into view along the main driveway providing access to the estate. With a kitchen-dining room and three bedrooms, it is also of a good size.
And lastly, a pavilion reflecting the style of the manor house, constitutes the third house. On the little-used road, in a corner of the property, it comprises a kitchen-dining room on the ground floor with a bedroom, a study and a bathroom upstairs.
The rest of the estate is essentially taken up by extremely majestic parklands, spanning a total of almost 5 ha.
The manor house
The much-appreciated asymmetry of these premises comes from its history. At the beginning, there was but a tall hunting lodge, with three levels separated by modillion moulding and corners marked by smooth rusticated masonry quoins. In the 19th century, a superb residence, featuring three bays, was constructed a few metres to the right of the lodge (when facing the main facade). The central bay, that including the entrance, is slightly protruding and has its own pavilion roof. The upper floor, under the slopes of the roof, is illuminated via hanging windows, the same size as the others but topped with triangular, moulded pediments. The hunting lodge and the residence were then joined together via a small, lower building, crowned with a balustrade and housing a second entrance at the top of a few steps like the main entrance.
On the rear facade, which faces a private garden, the stairway is housed in a square tower, constructed outside of the fabric of the building, and a small, protruding, closed gallery was added on the first floor between the tower and the old hunting lodge. All the roofs are covered with slate. The main facade extends on the right-hand side to include outbuildings, housing a boiler room (with a Viessmann boiler), a wine cellar laid out in accordance with good trade practices, a greenhouse and, in the old stables, a woodshed and two garages.
A central, through vestibule central, with its mosaic floor tiles, is illuminated via the glazing of the front door and a window half way between the ground and first floors in the stairwell at the end. Four sets of double wooden doors, with their moulded panels and ogee architraves, as well as the panelling constitute a welcoming decor. A kitchen and a dining room face one another on either side of the hall. Both have a door leading outside on the parklands side. The dining room is enhanced with ceiling beams, panelling, parquet flooring, indoor shutters and a fireplace, with a wooden mantel supported on twisted columns.
A lounge takes up the ground floor in the initial hunting lodge. Three, closely spaced, arched windows on the facade provide a clear view of the end of the garden where a swimming pool has been installed, with the historic town of Parthenay as a backdrop. The floor is covered with herringbone pattern parquet flooring.
Between the dining room and the lounge, in the section uniting the two buildings, is a small vestibule for the second entrance, its doors featuring stained glass windows. Said vestibule is separated from a smoking room by double glazed doors, the wooden frames of which create an Art Nouveau style pattern.
The smoking room, like the lounge, has a fireplace, in good working order like all those on the ground floor, and both rooms open on to the back garden, making this a through floor.
One of the four sets of finely moulded double doors in the vestibule conceals a toilet.
The protruding, closed gallery added to the rear facade is immediately to the right of the vestibule reached via the stairway. It provides access to two large bedrooms and the stairway which leads to that of the second floor in the hunting lodge. Between these two bedrooms, that at the end having three windows facing three different directions, is a bathroom which features a window the same size as the others on the facade. Just like another bathroom which opens on to the large landing and also communicates with the middle bedroom, which consequently has a choice between two bathrooms. This floor also comprises two smaller bedrooms, one with a fireplace looks out of the main facade, the other with a wash-hand basin is on the rear facade, as well as a toilet.
In a hall area providing access to the gallery, a stairway goes up to the second floor of the old hunting lodge, a sort of belvedere for following the course of the sun. The three windows in this large self-contained area, with a toilet on the little landing, a shower and a wash-hand basin in a corner, face east, south and north. Its fireplace is in good working order. The view over the 13 ha of greenbelt land, comprising grasslands and woods, can be concealed by indoor shutters.
The manor house’s main stairway goes up to the second floor of the 19th century building, in the length of which a vestibule, under the exposed roofing framework, provides access to three bedrooms on the facade and a shower room, with a toilet, and a workshop at each end.
The first secondary house
This house is currently lived in by the caretaker and the accommodation is strictly linked to his work contract. It stands just in front of the manor house when arriving via the main driveway, following an obtuse angle within the estate (the courtyard in front of the manor house also opens via gates on to the road). It is a long building, abounding in character. The spacious interior comprises a vestibule, a lounge, a kitchen-dining room, featuring a fireplace with a closed-hearth fire, a back kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom and a toilet on the ground floor, the walls of which are constructed from exposed stone. Upstairs are a landing-study, three bedrooms and a shower room with a toilet. Opposite, in the courtyard where this house takes up one side, are a farm shed and the old pigsties.
The second secondary house
This second house is immediately on the left-hand side in the main driveway providing access to the estate. It forms an L-shape with its outbuildings. Although spanning but a single storey, it is not small. The front door opens into a kitchen-dining room which provides access to a lounge which leads, in turn, to a bedroom and a hall area, providing access to two adjoining bedrooms, a bathroom, a toilet and a storage room. This house is currently rented to someone who will possibly have to find somewhere else to live.
This pavilion is on the side of the little-used road. Reflecting a similar style to that of the manor house, with a slate roof, it comprises a kitchen-dining room and a living room on the ground floor and a bedroom, a study and a shower room, with a toilet, upstairs. It is currently rented through an agency. Behind are still an old kennel and a little orangery, divided into two lengthwise to make room for a linen room, which still has its “ponne”, a stone pot that was traditionally used for doing the washing.
The parklands still have many features remaining from the time of their former splendour. The wooded section, crisscrossed with pathways, used to be open to the general public as a botanist planted rare species there in the 19th century. One section has been given over to fruit trees. The vegetable garden is but waiting for crops to be sown once again in its boxwood squares. Grasslands extend over approx. 1 ha at the end. Maintenance equipment such as four tractors, rotary cutters and chainsaws could be sold at the same time as the property.
Between town and countryside, this estate forms a regular rectangle, most of which is covered with parklands which used to be open to the general public, courtesy of the rare species planted there. Parthenay, with its ramparts, its bell towers and its castle, can be seen in the distance from the lounge and the swimming pool. The little town is a good tourist asset for those wishing to start an accommodation activity, for which the three houses that accompany the manor house, like vessels escorting the flagship, are well-suited. The residence was adjoined to an older hunting lodge in the 19th century. Although modern-day home comforts have been installed, it has retained a combination of elegance and soberness that gives it immediate appeal. The bedrooms, separated by bathrooms and providing wonderful views from the facade, can but delight a large family. La-Gâtine, a little, particularly captivating region, makes this then the ideal place to drop anchor.
|Land registry surface area||4 ha 84 a|
|Number of bedrooms||8|
|Main building surface area||400 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||409 m2|
Jean-Pascal Guiot +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.