character houses for sale ardèche - annonay in france

An old, 15th century watermill, its house and its outbuildings along the banks
in a hectare of verdant surroundings in the French department of Ardèche
Tournon-sur-Rhône, ARDECHE rhones-alps 07300 FR


These buildings, set in about a hectare of verdant grounds at an altitude of 600 m, stand on the outskirts of a picturesque village perched above a river. Already mentioned in the 13th century, the little village is composed of stone houses, constructed during the 15th and 17th centuries, set around a Romanesque style church.
This quiet village comes to life every year during the “Ardéchoise”, the famous cycle race that goes through this section of the department, also known as a “land of flavours” courtesy of its cheeses, its chestnuts and its wines.
30 minutes from the towns of Tournon-sur-Rhône and Annonay, this property is an hour from Valence and its TGV train station, with its 2¼-hour links to Paris. The town of Lyon and its international Saint-Exupéry airport are 1½ hours away by car.


A dirt track, off the little village road, leads to the property. In the peace and quiet, in a pastoral setting, it spans about a hectare crossed by a river. The stone buildings stand humbly along the banks, blending harmoniously with the surroundings. Once a mill dating from the 15th century, it has been extended by a house, an old cowshed topped with a barn and by outbuildings, constructed over the following centuries. These adjoining buildings form a coherent property. This water-powered flour mill has the particularity of having a horizontal wheel. Often little known, the watermill with a horizontal wheel predominantly existed in the south of France. Its simplicity made it well-suited to small-scale, family production. It is also possible that the barn was used as a forge. With the arrival of mechanisation and the decline of the flour milling activity at the end of the 19th century, this mill, which also had a fruit press, continued for a few years before finally closing down completely.

The mill

This stone mill, spanning two levels, stands in the centre of the other constructions. It adjoins the old barn, on one side, whilst on the other, a once open porch ensures the transition to the house. The horizontal waterwheel is installed under the mill. It is also known as a “pirouette”. This system is often used in streams with a low flowrate where a larger installation would not be profitable. There used to be a lake above the mill, supplied with water by a millrace, it enabled the “pirouette” to operate intermittently. It also operated the fruit press. The lake is now filled in and water no longer passes under the mill. All the mechanism has, nevertheless, been preserved. The room on the ground floor communicates with the old cowshed, below the barn, and similarly the room upstairs communicates with the barn. A few stone steps outside go up in front of a little wooden door which opens into the first floor of the mill: a room illuminated via small windows, with parquet flooring, and which makes it possible to get to a room laid out above the porch.

The house

This stone house, spanning two levels, comprises living space. A terrace, added to the facade facing the river, houses a workshop and a boiler room on the garden level. It also provides access to two vaulted stone cellars under the house. A goddess of mill water, sculpted on a quoin of one of the stone walls, looks out over the river. The face is very expressive, with the forehead frowning to indicate thinking. It also represents a human amazed by the forever contemplated natural surroundings.

Ground floor
The porch provides access to the house’s entrance and communicates with the garden, facing the river. It has been completely enclosed and glazed. A room has been laid out above under the slopes of the roof. The house’s heavy wooden entrance door is flanked by dressed stone. It opens into a vast living room, one of the walls of which features a monumental stone fireplace, known locally as a “cantou”. Opposite is a study-library, whilst a wooden stairway goes upstairs. The luminous living room opens on to a vast terrace overlooking the garden. Near to the entrance door, a wide passageway leads to a fitted kitchen, with exposed stone walls, and a corridor provides access to a bedroom and a shower room as well as a separate toilet and a shower room, also used as a laundry room. The bedroom has a picture window, opening on to a small stone terrace and the garden.
First floor
The wooden stairway leads to a mezzanine, nestling under the slopes of the roof and overlooking the living room. It leads to two bedrooms and a separate toilet. The rest of this level is open but could be partitioned to form a third bedroom if required. A door makes it possible to go into the room laid out above the porch.

The old barn and the outbuildings

A heavy wooden arched door opens into the barn, illuminated via small windows. Its exposed stone walls support a superb, robust roofing framework. This room spans approx. 75 m². It communicates with the upstairs of the mill.
The old cowshed is below the barn. Spanning the same floor surface area, it has an arched wooden door that opens on the garden level into an inner courtyard, enclosed by stone walls and outbuildings. The courtyard can also be reached via a curved wooden door, set in a framework of dressed stone, engraved with the year 1704.
Outbuildings, once used for animals, are currently in use as storage areas and woodsheds.
A lean-to, supported by a wall of the barn, acts as a carport.

Our opinion

This estate, with its lush vegetation, its robust stone and its original horizontal mill wheel bearing witness to one of man’s age-old activities, simply exudes character. The buildings, restored with noble materials, have been cleverly linked so as to form a property, the living space of which can still be extended. The admirable stone figurine sculpted in one of the outside walls is a superb example of its authenticity, but nothing should distract residents from the spectacle of their continually renewed natural surroundings.

Exclusive sale

430 000 €
Honoraires à la charge du vendeur

Voir le Barème d'Honoraires

Reference 188694

Land registry surface area 10535 m2
Main building surface area 150 m2
Outbuilding surface area 150 m2

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Regional representative

Florence Granier       +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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