and its gardens designed by Russel Page
This property, 30 minutes from the centre of Paris and Orly airport, stands on the outskirts of a town on the edge of the Upper Chevreuse Valley Regional Nature Park. Protected from the main roads and within easy reach from Paris via the A10 motorway and the N118, the town has all the amenities of a commune with 20,000 inhabitants, including two regional train stations on RER line B.
This mill was constructed on the banks of a tributary of the river Yvette in 1734. Having ceased its milling activities in 1908, it was purchased by a renowned painter in 1920, when the mill as well as its outbuildings were gradually transformed into houses. In the 1950’s, the property was taken over by members of the English royal family who used it as a holiday home up until 1973. They carried out conversion works that gave the premises a “British” air, still very much in evidence today. Garden enthusiasts, they had the garden landscaped. The property was purchased by a foundation in 2005 and has since been fully renovated in keeping with its cottage appearance.
The mill is an L-shaped building which spans two levels under attic space. It has a three-sloped roof, covered with flat tiles and featuring shed dormers. A porch, topped with a roof supported on four carved, wooden columns, marks the main entrance. The facade above features a wide sundial.
All the main areas are through rooms; all the exposed beams and panelling are painted.
A spacious hall provides access to a lounge and a bright corner room laid out as a study. Both rooms have stone fireplaces. The floors are covered with Burgundy stone tiles and sisal matting. A wooden stairway adjoining the north facade leads upstairs. The dining room, also reached via the hall, communicates with two utility rooms. A secondary stairway leads to the staff bedrooms upstairs. The second section of the building comprises a vast lounge area, with a very high ceiling, which is illuminated via a wide window. A modern kitchen and a bathroom have been installed under a mezzanine which houses a small upstairs lounge. At the other end, a few steps lead to double doors opening into a very large bedroom overlooking the garden. The parquet is of a light-coloured oak wood and a fireplace has the particularity of being made of painted bricks.
The vestibule, set in the corner formed by the two sections of the “L”, provides access to the various areas of the main building as well as to the bedrooms in the building set at right angles. The reception room, the star of the main building, reflects a more countrified character courtesy of its terracotta floor tiles, its very high ceiling and its exposed roofing framework. Extremely spacious and illuminated via tall windows, this vast area dominates the property and looks out over the scenery on the garden side. A lounge is laid out in front of a stone fireplace. At the other end, a large bar delimits a kitchen area. The lounge area extends into a small living room, followed by a landing which provides access on two floors to staff bedrooms and bathrooms. Near to the reception room, the Duke’s old bedroom, set in the corner of the main building, is laid out over two bright, comfortable levels. In the area under the rafters are a dressing room and a luxurious bathroom. It precedes the Duchess’ old suite composed of an anteroom and an adjoining bedroom, both rooms enhanced with fireplaces and old parquet flooring. These are followed by a bathroom that looks out over the verdant surroundings.
The orangery was constructed in the 20th century in order to connect the existing outbuildings and to close the courtyard. The Duke had it laid out like a small museum where he exhibited objects bearing witness to his past. This building is of an impressive size and illuminated via wide windows on the courtyard and garden sides, all fitted with indoor shutters. The floor is covered with Burgundy stone tiles, the roofing framework is exposed and two fireplaces face one another from their gable walls.
The guest houses
Totalling five in number and with floor surface areas varying between 70 and 242 m², these guest houses were laid out in the old outbuildings and form one long, continuous, stone building, its roof covered with flat tiles, with the exception of the old stables adjoining the mill. Each house is completely self-contained and has a terrace and a private garden. The interiors have all been soberly and meticulously converted. The dovecote, still exuding all of its charm of yesteryear, creates a surprise with its lounge, the walls of which are adorned with ceramic decoration. The small house has painted, panelled walls and a brick fireplace. The biggest of the houses stands out as it spans three levels. The rooms are spacious, bright, comfortable and elegant.
The caretaker’s cottage
Standing at the west end of the mill, this small house has a bedroom and a living room that opens on to a private terrace.
These covered technical areas were converted in the 20th century for the upkeep of the property. Although out of sight, they can be reached via the property’s central driveway.
The parklands and gardens
The outstanding quality of the external layout is due to the work of the great landscape architect, Russel Page. The mill’s old streams were redesigned and linked with pools, rockeries and lush borders, planted in keeping with the English cottage tradition. Unfortunately, not all of the plants survived, but the outstanding structure of the gardens remains and provides interesting viewpoints. Irregular, curved shapes enhance the beauty of the natural surroundings and the disarray of rocks bordering the property.
The hydraulic features of the mill have been dismantled and successive conversion works have embellished the interiors without marring the building’s authenticity. Furthermore, the force of the close ties that have always linked the premises to their natural setting has been magnificently preserved. Vast, comfortable and picturesque, this property forms a refined, extremely rare haven, where family and friends can enjoy sumptuous visits. This very British country estate, set in a natural, peaceful valley, is almost secluded and yet so near to Paris.
|Land registry surface area||13 ha 17 a 52 ca|
|Main building surface area||545 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||823 m2|
Marie-Lyne Mary +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.