The large, luxurious home of a fishing industrialist
in a south Finistère town with three ports
Douarnenez, FINISTERE brittany 29100 FR


A medium-sized town on the Brittany coast, it is less than 25 km from an airport and a TGV train station. It further benefits from the proximity of the amenities in Quimper, the department’s prefecture. The town of the so-called “Penn Sardin” (sardine heads in Breton) owes its name to the fact that it held first place in France in the 19th century as regards sardine fishing and tinning activities. Nowadays, the fishermen have made way for holidaymakers, but the natural surroundings and the buildings are still particularly authentic. Those exploring this port town, with its wealth of reliefs, will repeatedly come across views and vistas with the sea in the distance.


This luxury home and its garden, less than stone’s throw from the quays and slightly set back off a square, are concealed from onlookers by their perimeter walls. This house bears witness to a time when 26 tinning factories employed almost 3,000 workers and when it was common for industrialists to show their success by constructing sumptuous houses near to the centre of urban commercial activity, but away from working-class homes. Consequently, this house is to be seen, separated from the town by a low stone wall, topped with short, wrought railings. Wrought iron gates open on to a driveway leading to the house’s main porch. A back door set in the conservatory, bordering a side street, provides a second entrance.

The house

The building, constructed at the end of the 1800’s, spans three levels. The masonry stone walls are rendered. They are topped with a hip, zinc roof with standing seams. The facades are regularly laid out with openings enhanced with protruding, stone surrounds, similar to the quoins on the main body of the building. An adjoining conservatory reinforces its status as a middle-class home.

Ground floor
Three wide stone steps go up to an entrance door, opening into a bright vestibule which provides access to the reception rooms and a study. A reception lounge communicates with a dining room via tall, double doors. This second room has access to the garden via a French window which opens on to a small side porch. The main vestibule also leads to a second hallway, housing the stairway. Lined with cupboards, it gives access to a kitchen and the study, decorated with wainscoting and an oak wood panelled fireplace. A hall area leads not only to a dressing room, preceding a shower room, with a toilet, but also to a stairway going down to the cellars and the basement.
First floor
A wide stairway, with wooden steps, is illuminated via a tall window. It goes up to a vast landing, lined with cupboards. This level comprises two old, master bedrooms which have been knocked into one. A French window opens on to a balcony that overlooks the front door. Another two bedrooms, and their separate shower room, are on either side.
Second floor
This top floor once housed the staff bedrooms, but has since been redesigned. Its vast landing is lined with cupboards as on the floor below. It provides access to four bright bedrooms, all with their own adjoining shower room.
The cellars span the full ground surface area of the main building and communicate via the lower section on the west side of the house with the annexe building, bordering a side street.

The conservatory

It was the fashion in the 19th century for the middle-classes to exhibit new and exotic species found during distant expeditions that a privileged financial status made possible to imagine or actually undertake. With industrialisation, the development of construction techniques further made it possible to build a new type of edifice, using iron and glass. This style of architecture was on the rise and commonly living with more classical forms of construction.
Thus it is that a conservatory harmoniously adjoins this large, luxurious home. Constructed from stone alongside the side road, it presents a blind wall, featuring but a back door, to the outside world. The structure of the metal roofing framework, shaped like an inverted ship’s hull, no longer features it original glazing, but has since been covered with strips of wood.

The annexe building

This property was extended in the second half of the 20th century with the addition of an independent house. All on a level and adjoining the west facade of the large, luxurious home, its entrance door is set in the facade facing the street. It can, however, also be reached through the garden, laid out in front of the south facade, beyond the double flight of steps leading down from the dining room porch. The garden following a natural slope, these premises communicate with the garden level and the cellars of the main house. This annexe building comprises four rooms reached via a transverse corridor. A lounge and a kitchen look out over the garden and two bedrooms are on the road side.

Our opinion

Time may have left its mark on this middle-class home’s splendour of yesteryear, but the harmony of the layout of the facade walls and openings, the balance of the rooms, the precision of the proportions and the quality of the materials used, all the features that form the architecture of a construction, are still intact, even if it is somewhat like reading a manuscript with faded ink. Although this sleeping beauty in its town garden is in need of renovation work, its heritage qualities, together with its location, will enable new owners to adapt it to a modern-day vocation.

860 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense

See the fee rates

Reference 700752

Land registry surface area 680 m2
Main building surface area 295 m2
Number of bedrooms 9
Outbuilding surface area 70 m2
including refurbished area70 m2

French Energy Performance Diagnosis


Isabelle Pessemier +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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