set in a Provencal village near to Orange and Vaison-la-Romaine
The medieval, hilltop village, between the Cévennes mountains and Mount Ventoux, amidst vines and lavender fields, in the Enclave-des-Papes area, is a stopover along the tourists’ Côtes-du-Rhône wine and Lavender routes.
This mansion house is near to the ruins of a fortress, on the heights of the village, where pride of place is taken by a charming church, topped with a bell-tower enhanced with old wrought ironwork embroidery, as well as a superb lion’s mouth fountain. It stands out from the middle-class houses to be seen on all sides courtesy of its imposing air. (It was a summer residence for members of the papal court for a very long time.)
An hour from Avignon (TGV train station) and 1½ hours from Marignane international airport.
The architecture is in a U-shape, reflecting the expression of Roman classicism, notably in the two wings facing one another, which provides symmetry to the property. Numerous tall windows let copious amount of sunlight into the building.
An inner courtyard, out of sight of onlookers courtesy of an ivy-covered wall, is jealously protected by an impressive stone lion, keeping guard behind wrought iron gates.
Constructed on Roman foundations, this building is steeped in large and small historic events which, like alluvial strata, have been successively deposited here by past centuries.
The late Middle-Ages provided a cobbled street with a well and a wonderfully preserved underground passageway, some 80 metres long, containing a jail, gates, a well and storage areas.
The Renaissance era added its classical aesthetics with preference given to comfort and light.
The century of the Sun King and the Age of Reason completed the modernisation.
The tower flat, the sun terrace and the garden all provide a 180° view over the Provencal countryside. With a vague air of Tuscany, its distant rolling hills can be seen to join with the majestic Mount Ventoux, beyond vines, pine and oak forests as well as fields of lavender.
A garden, typical of the late 18th century, reached via a cobbled passageway brings characters such as Cyrano-de-Bergerac to mind. In the background are vestiges of the tremendous walls of a ruined castle, with its cedar of Lebanon trees, a view of the bell-tower and the countryside, stretching for as far as the eye can see.
The only exception to this Renaissance unity, is a recently installed outdoor swimming pool, the water of which blends beautifully with the old stone walls.
The Renaissance-style mansion house
These Renaissance-style exteriors are laid out in a U-shape typical of the architecture of Ancient Rome, with a little courtyard. However, a cobbled passageway, a garden bordered by castle ruins and a perfectly preserved underground passageway are reminiscent of the Middle-Ages.
This level bears traces of Roman times as well as the feudal era of the late Middle-Ages.
An old, arched door opens into a paved entrance hall, spanning approx. 11 m².
On one side are a guard room, spanning approx. 31 m², and a bedroom taking up this wing (approx. 21 m²). Both these rooms have windows with a view over the courtyard. A room in use as a boiler room precedes a bathroom and toilet. A newel spiral stairway at the end of the guard room leads upstairs.
A Renaissance-style stairway, housed in the entrance hall, goes upstairs. A few steps go down to a section where a heavy flagstone floor is proof of its Roman origin. This area, with its flagstoned floors, comprises two large rooms, illuminated via windows opening on to the courtyard and the facade. French ceilings.
A lounge, spanning approx. 48 m², once the feudal kitchen, with a monumental fireplace and all the attributes worthy of a Vatel hotel; a cold room hewn in the rock, with a stone cupboard for dirty laundry, a stone sink and added columns; a dining room, spanning approx. 35 m², with openings fitted with heavy defences. All these features are signs of ancient times. An open-plan function area has been created here for elegantly receiving guests in a medieval banquet atmosphere.
Enlightened enthusiasts will immediately notice a pre-gothic door in the dining room which provides access to a modern, fully fitted kitchen, spanning approx. 15 m², with a window overlooking the courtyard and enhanced with an old stone sink.
A large, clever opening between the dining room and the lounge emphasises the spaciousness of the rooms.
At the top of the main stairway, with its age-old steps and its landing baluster railings, a first lounge (approx. 35 m² with a 4.2 m high moulded ceiling) transports visitors to the reign of Louis-the-Great, in a living room where copious amounts of naturally light flood in through large mullioned windows. Refined decor such as old terracotta floor tiles, solid oak wood doors, cornices, a fireplace and trumeaux are an invitation to research bygone times, helped by an adjoining, equally well-illuminated study (19 m² with a 3.80 m high ceiling), enhanced with wall frescoes based on the themes of hunting and fishing as well as an alcove that would inspire any demanding writer. The casement windows in this room provide a perfect view taking in the luxurious property of a famous member of the French Academy who recently passed away.
A second, adjoining, very bright lounge (approx. 48 m² with a 4.20 m high French ceiling) features windows opening widely on to Rue-des-Nobles, a terrace and a medieval garden. This room also pays tribute to the Age of Reason with a bookshelf and a fireplace featuring caryatides and, reminiscent of even older times, a Renaissance wall fresco. (The mullioned windows are, like all the windows in this mansion house, fitted with indoor folding shutters.) A trumeau, featuring a port scene with a galleon, evokes a journey to distant lands.
A fully glazed door opens on to a terrace. Another solid wood door opens into a summer kitchen, spanning approx. 12 m², and into a concealed passageway leading to the master bedroom. The latter, spanning approx. 21 m², has double Louis XIV style doors. Typical of the 18th century, it features wide terracotta floor tiles, a moulded ceiling, a pink veined marble fireplace, adorned with a Louis XV style shell decoration, and French windows, providing a view over the courtyard. Listed trumeaux featuring exotic scenes are an invitation to travel.
Following this bedroom is a bathroom and toilet, spanning a total floor surface area of approx. 14 m². A second room, spanning approx. 21 m², is used as an exercise-dressing room. Its doors have locks dating from the 16th century. One of these doors provides access to a landing, with balusters, generously steeped in light via a tall window, as well as to a spiral stairway going down to the guard room on the floor below and up to the second floor.
A caretaker’s flat faces the main stairway and the baluster landing. It comprises a lounge (approx. 38 m²), two bedrooms (approx. 16 and 14 m²), a kitchen, a bathroom and a toilet.
This area is sober and functional.
Also off the landing are two very bright bedrooms, laid out above the master bedroom and respectively spanning 18 and 15 m². They feature old terracotta floor tiles, rendered walls, moulded ceilings and old doors. Windows opening on to the courtyard let in copious amounts of light. A corridor leads to a bathroom, a toilet and, lastly, a dressing room.
A third door on the last landing opens into a passageway room, spanning approx. 10 m², which houses an oak wood spiral stairway leading to the tower and to the two previously mentioned bedrooms.
A self-supporting, oak wood spiral stairway goes up first of all to the first level and a room, spanning approx. 20 m², where numerous modern windows let in abundant light and provide a view over the rooftops and surrounding countryside. This room also has a wash-hand basin.
On the floor above is a shower room, spanning approx. 4 m². A landing (approx. 6 m²) provides access to a sun terrace, spanning approx. 20 m², with a 200° panoramic view stretching for as far as the eye can see over countryside and Mount Ventoux.
The garage is reached from the street via carriage doors by taking a paved passageway. It also houses the machine room for the swimming pool and is extended by an underground passageway, approx. 80 m long, with a jail, storage areas and an indoor well.
The swiming pool
This suspended pool is laid lazily out alongside a high stone wall which generously reflects heat back on to a little sun terrace, cleverly set out of sight of onlookers.
Now in use as a garage and spanning a floor surface area of approx. 130 m², this was once the old municipal theatre, all that remains of which are the stage and the circle boxes. It is optionally available for purchase over and above the asking price for 200,000 euros,
The roof of this outbuilding has been redone and the latter could easily be converted for another purpose.
The entire mansion house, furniture included, is up for sale for a price of 1,190,000 euros.
A stone stairway leads from the lounge opening on to the terrace to a delightfully romantic hanging garden, planted with miscellaneous species. It is enhanced with a terrace, beautifully laid out as a lounge in this verdant haven which dominates the surrounding countryside and provides a clear view of Mount Ventoux. The vestiges of an 11th century fortress act as a backdrop to this scenery resembling an impressionist painting.
This property is the archetype of what enlightened enthusiasts of architecture, art, authenticity and history might be seeking. Its sober elegance, comfort and tranquillity are ideal qualities for relaxation, meditation and artistic creation.
Its proximity to all means of communication, cultural centres and internationally renowned historic sites as well as the possibilities for unlimited walks, local wines and gastronomic specialities will appeal equally to intellectuals and epicureans searching for thousand-year-old values, in the peace and quiet, in a property so rare that they will wish to share it with selected friends.
|Land registry surface area||1080 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||8|
|Main building surface area||550.00 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||160.00 m2|
Roger Pertuisot +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.