An eight-century old, family home
100 km from Paris in the Tardenois region
Soissons, AISNE picardy 02200 FR


This is a land of culture with the house of the Claudels and that of La-Fontaine. It is also a land of war with, in particular, the Battle of the Marne which left numerous vestiges throughout the countryside, notably the military cemeteries. They stand as a reminder of this war. Chalmont Hill or “Butte”, not far from the market town, acts as a shrine, providing 360° panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. This site is now marked by sculptor Paul-Landowski’s huge memorial, named “The Phantoms”, which was given French Historic Monument classification as of its creation in 1934.
On the edge of the Tardenois region, between Paris and Reims, these vast undulating landscapes comprising farmland and forests, were spared by the industrial revolution.


The market town owes its fame to the imposing presence of its church, which looks down on to the village. The old centre developed along the two main roads in the lowland, forming narrow streets of adjoining houses, aligned alongside the streets. On the heights, the old site of the castle still houses the church. Below the latter, circular lime tree-lined malls delimit the area and are spread out over several levels. Numerous troglodyte caves, known locally as “creuttes”, to the east of the town, are still used as warehouses by the inhabitants. The town also still has its covered market place. Today, this little market town, with its shops and schools, forms the setting for this property which is completely enclosed by a 19th century perimeter wall.
Large numbers of Knights Templars and commanderies were to be found in the region as of the 12th century. They founded an establishment in the midst of the village in 1177. It was at this time that this large house, with its original ground floor, dating from the medieval era, was built. It then became home to leading local citizens and underwent major transformation works in the 17th and 18th centuries. Interior conversion works were also carried out in the 19th century. From its original Christian origins, it still has a wayside cross which, dating from the 19th century, adjoins the fence. It is an integral part of the property.
Whatever the case, it could have been described as a house in the town and a house in the fields by Jean-de-la-Fontaine, who lived in the neighbouring town of Château-Thierry. In fact, on one side, the residence is in the centre of a market town, facing the town hall, whilst on the other side it is at the end of parklands, with gates opening on to the surrounding fields. These premises get all their charm from the magical dimension of this dual, opposing aspect. Its residents are fully part of the village way of life and, at the same time, able to get easily away into the beautiful Tardenois countryside.

The house

This house provides glimpses of the various eras of its long life, from the Knights Templars in the Middle-Ages through to 19th century middle-class salons. The building, constructed from large blocks of local stone, rendered on the facade and left exposed on the gables, is protected by a slate roof. It stands facing a garden, laid to lawn, with a central, paved alleyway leading to the front door. The various eras are to be seen in the different styles of the windows. The facade reflects a very real harmony despite the differences in levels as, on one side, there are obviously two levels as opposed to three on the other. Apart from this, the facade is sober, without any particular ornamentation, other than two string courses and an old wisteria, growing around the front door.

Ground floor
The front door opens into a vestibule, with coloured cement floor tiles and a majestic, straight stone stairway, providing a viewpoint. On one side of this entrance hall is a double lounge. Its outstanding architecture features traces of the old Knights Templar residence, with pillars supporting barrel stone vaults, characteristic of Romanesque architecture. An underground tunnel is concealed behind a little door at the end of the lounge. It used to provide access to the old castle and currently leads God knows where.
On the other side of the entrance hall is a kitchen, a large living room where it is possible to include a large farm table. It opens directly on to the garden and leads to a troglodyte wine cellar.

First floor
A corridor at the top of the stairs leads to four bedrooms, one of which is very big and is used by the current owners as a winter lounge, where they celebrate Christmas with a fireplace and a Christmas tree. All the bedrooms are extremely bright. They open on to the garden and some have two windows. The high ceilings, the fireplaces and the parquet flooring reflect the atmosphere of the Age of Light. Worthy of note in one of the bedrooms is an elegant, Austrian ceramic, wood-burning stove. Two bathrooms complete this level.
Second floor
This floor comprises five bedrooms for accommodating a large family, guests or friends. They are more rustic in style than those on the floor below but exude a welcoming atmosphere. The rooms are under the rafters with very different views of the gardens. There is also a shower room.
The garden
The house stands in the midst of several garden areas, each with its own atmosphere, including the main entrance garden and the summer garden on the other side. The latter is raised and can be reached via a little paved path which goes around the building. An orchard is also raised. The view from there extends over the village rooftops. And lastly, laid out below the building, wooded parklands can be reached via a picturesque flight of stone steps and are but an invitation to escape in every sense of the word. There is, in fact, an exit with gates opening on to fields which can be used by hikers setting off across the cultivated farmland and wooded areas, taking pride of place in the landscape.
This property has troglodyte outbuildings with a wine cellar and a workshop.
A small barn completes these utility areas.

Our opinion

This family home is steeped in character coming from its long history as well as from its current owners who have lived there for 25 years. Exuding compassion, this house will immediately appeal to those bothered enough to show any interest in it and is actually more complex that might be believed. With its various gardens, its multiple construction eras and its dual “town versus country” aspect, this residence is not just a large, luxurious home. It is possible to approach the truth by understanding that it draws its longevity from the family happiness that it has experienced and even created.

495 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense

See the fee rates

Reference 686215

Land registry surface area 9730 m2
Main building surface area 520 m2
Number of bedrooms 8

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Regional representative

Jérôme Ferchaud +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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