a luminous manor house and its caretaker’s cottage in 2 ha of parklands
In a region known as Argonne-Ardennaise, 2½ hours from Paris as well as Brussels and a little over 2 hours from Luxembourg.
45 minutes from the Champagne houses and their vineyards, on the outskirts of the town of Reims, with its 200 km of underground cellars, a historic maze hewn by the Romans where some of the world’s greatest champagnes are made.
Undulating landscapes, forests, grazing lands as well as a rich 16th and 17th century heritage (castles and abbeys) make this little-known region attractive.
On the outskirts of a market town with some 4,000 inhabitants, a local hospital, all schools, local shops, supermarkets, a cinema and a library, it is near to the 117,000 hectares of the Ardennes Regional Nature Park as well as Argonne Discovery Park.
The railway station, closed since 1969, saw poet Arthur-Rimbaud, supported on crutches, leave for the last time on 23 August 1891.
In 1885, the town had a prison where Paul-Verlaine was imprisoned for a month, following a complaint made by his own mother for his trying to strangle her whilst under the influence of alcohol.
A Parisian horse breeder had this manor house constructed in 1892 so that his two frail daughters could spend time in the country.
Shortly afterwards, in 1896, painter André-Maxime-Loupot, graduate of Paris’ School of Fine Arts and pupil of Léon-Bonnat, became its happy owner. His wife, Louise-Loupot, who was also chairwoman of the French Red Cross, kept firm control over the many domestic staff as well as the family business in the town centre, whilst her husband, ever wearing his straw hat and accompanied by his easel, wandered the region, painting verdant and peaceful, local landscapes on his canvases. The manor house has since been in the same family for four generations.
A drive winds its way up through the parklands to the manor house, going around an old fountain, awaiting restoration. Its ornamental pool was fed by a well, set in the woods at the end of the parklands. A little brook also crosses the property.
The manor house
Constructed on a terrace bordered by elegant ironwork, this manor house has its back turned to the neighbouring property and looks out over the parklands. It is built over vaulted cellars and stands under an attic floor, with roof dormers. A 4-storey tower, topped with a sprocket roof, dominates the property. The main facade features several projections including a pavilion, the roof of which is adorned with a small zinc oculus. Dressed stone and red brick was used for the quoins and the framing around the small-paned windows. The slightly arched lintels are topped with diamond-shaped keystones. The sober rendering covering the facade enhances the brick decor and the exuberant eaves. The discreet slatted shutters can be unfolded at the end of the day or during hot summer days to keep the rooms cool.
A vast garage topped with a terrace stands at one end.
Double oak wood doors, partially glazed with small panes and topped with a fanlight, open into a through vestibule. The oak wood parquet flooring, laid in a strip pattern, blends beautifully with the surprising, 17th century panelling that comes from one of the region’s old Knights Templar Commanderies. The floor-to-ceiling, carved oak wood panelling is divided into panels, framed with moulding, alternating with pilasters decorated with richly carved garlands of flowers. Although featuring an outstandingly wrought fireback bearing the year 1712, the fireplace completing this decor is not in good working order. At the end, a small ladies’ sitting room is laid out next to an oak wood stairway, with Louis XVI style wrought iron railings which goes upstairs. Four doors, glazed with small, bevelled panes, provide access, on one side, to a lounge and a study and, on the other side, to a dining room, a cloakroom with a toilet, a back stairway and the steps leading down to the cellar that precede the pantry. A kitchen communicates with the latter as well as with the dining room. The lounge has a moulded ceiling, wainscoting and a fireplace, with carved floral decor and a splayed stricture lined with ceramic tiles, all topped with a mirror trumeau. The study with which it communicates features slightly higher wainscoting, a glazed bookshelf unit, cupboards and a pink marble fireplace. The dining room also has higher wainscoting, a more extensively wrought ceiling with moulding forming coffers and an 18th century stone fireplace. Especially bright, courtesy of three windows, it communicates with the pantry, featuring white-painted wainscoting, followed by the kitchen. The latter runs the full depth of the building and therefore has two doors. Despite its resolutely 1980’s style appearance, it still has its blue ceramic wall tiles. Whether in the reception rooms laid with carpet or in the utility rooms and the kitchen laid with linoleum, the strip pattern parquet flooring and the cement floor tiles could easily be re-exposed.
The landing is hung with the artist’s paintings featuring the manor house and the parklands, notably with a lake, bearing witness to its existence in the 19th century. It provides access to five bedrooms (spanning 16, 24, 25, 32 and 37 m²) as well as a study, all of which have plain ceiling moulding, wainscoting and a variety of marble fireplaces. Two of the bedrooms have wash-hand basins, two others, a bathroom with a cast iron bath and flower-shaped knobs or, for the second, a vast shower room which opens on to the terrace above the garage. The toilet is on the back stairway mezzanine. A third stairway, following a room awaiting conversion, goes down to the garage and up to the second floor of the manor house.
This level has been neglected and used as an attic for many years. It could be used for the same purpose or be given back its original vocation, that of bedrooms as is proved by the presence of a bathroom and rooms with marble fireplaces. Its independent access from the garage would make it ideal for a bed & breakfast activity, especially as it could be converted into as many as six additional bedrooms.
The hunting room
This hunting room adjoins the manor house tower.
It is divided into three rooms, the main one of which, spanning approx. 40 m², is paved with cement floor tiles under an outstanding vaulted, wooden ceiling.
In this particularly wooded region, abounding in game, it must have accommodated hunters’ banquets or, quite simply, children’s games.
The caretaker’s cottage
This cottage, with its own little garden, is to be found along the road, below the manor house. In a state of neglect, it is in need of full interior restoration works. It spans a floor surface area of approx. 45 m².
Standing apart from the property, it is ideal for letting purposes and has already been rented out in the past.
The architecture of this manor house is quite bold as if inspired by the Imperial Commission’s chalet presented at the 1867 World’s Fair. Elegantly standing in a dominant position, it faces south with its back to the sea spray; its facade lit up by the slightest ray of sunshine.
A free hand was obviously given to its creation as regards proportions, styles, materials and contrasts.
With a savoury combination of styles drawn from the past, it is a perfect example of the eclecticism existing at this time.
Its interiors are fitted with the deep carpets that were the height of fashion in the 1980’s; these could easily be taken up to reveal the authentic parquet flooring and cement tiles underneath.
This very real family home forms an extremely comfortable retreat, where four generations have in no way changed its character.
490 000 € Negotiation fees included
460 000 € Fees excluded
Forfait de 30 000 € TTC à la charge de l’acquéreur
|Land registry surface area||2 ha 42 a 76 ca|
|Main building surface area||643 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||100 m2|
North & West Marne and East Aube department
Florence Fornara +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.