in the old county of Anjou, now part of the Touraine region
In the Anjou Valley, facing a town with 4,000 inhabitants, in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park, along the Touraine wine route, 45 minutes from Tours and an hour from Angers. Links, by road: 3 km from the Nantes, Bourges slip road on the A85 motorway; by rail: Tours and Angers TGV train stations; by air: Tours and Angers airports with regular flights to several European capitals.
It is accessed via three entrances facing the market town, on the west side, and opening on to the outer boulevard created in the old moats which runs alongside the remains of the ramparts.
This property constitutes an unspoilt, tranquil and pastoral site, heavily marked by the play of the land, organised in horizontal levels, separated from the market town, to the north, by a tall perimeter wall, protected to the east by the parklands of an adjoining chateau and to the south by the old, listed vegetable gardens.
The sections for sale are parts of the Conventual House (identified as CH) and of the Abbey House (identified as AH) as they were known in the 17th century.
The term Conventual House applies to outbuildings that can be accessed via an independent entrance on the left-hand side. The gothic church having disappeared, the vestiges of the cloister and its buildings remain the property of the Diocese.
Abbey House, however, refers to the actual property accessed on the right-hand side of the central entrance, by crossing an esplanade dominating the ramparts, and via a lower entrance on the right-hand side.
The old care home at the entrance to the property on a land registry surface area of 0.3017 ha is to be sold separately for a price of €330,000.
And all the buildings on 4.1064 ha are for sale at a price of €1,380,000.
Founded in 990, by Emma, wife of Guillaume Earl of Poitou, from a small priory that she largely funded, it became one of the biggest abbeys in the county of Anjou, with the status of barony and “châtellenie” (an officially recognised castle and its land).
After the Concordat between Léon X and François I, it became an abbey in commendam, adopted the rule of Saint-Maur in 1630 under the influence of Richelieu, was sold as national property during the French Revolution and then taken over in 1830 by an apostolic congregation of women who ensured its tranquillity through until now.
Its history is linked to some famous people.
Baudri, 8th abbot in 1089 who left a 1,100 verse poem for Adèle, daughter of William the Conqueror; Charles IX, “On 14 November 1565 the King arrived for dinner; the bibliographic wealth of this abbey so captivated the monarch that he stayed for five days”; Rabelais who came as a neighbour and used it as inspiration for describing Thélème Abbey; Ronsard who “on leaving his river Loir and his Gâtine area, fell in love here with a beautiful local girl.”
The buildings have been subjected to: fire when the mercenaries known as the “Grandes Compagnies” passed by on 30 April 1361, the occupation of Pierre-de-Culant and his 200 mounted soldiers in 1425, lightning, the megalomania of its lordly recipients under whom, according to a contemporary, it was “a perpetual demolition and construction site” and, to close, a stone quarry during the 1800’s.
The dwelling courtyard (AH)
This courtyard is delimited, on the west or market town side, by an esplanade and two buildings flanking it, accessed via 17th century monumental carriage gates; on the south side, by large granaries and a dwelling; and on the north side, by outbuildings. The courtyard is also extended to the east by gardens.
It constitutes an intermediate level organised between the alluvial terrace and the river bank.
It features a cedar tree.
Approx. 3,000 m².
The buildings to the left of the entrance (AH)
An 18th century, dressed stone building with a string course and a cornice. It spans two levels as well as unusable attic space. It has a truss roofing framework supporting a slate roof.
The ground floor comprises an entrance hall, a stairway, a kitchen, two lounges, a bedroom with a bathroom, and a toilet. The first floor comprises a landing leading to four bedrooms, a bathroom and a toilet.
Ceilings are between 2.40 and 2.58 m high.
Currently used as staff accommodation.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 110 m².
The building to the right of the entrance (AH)
A 19th century, 4.70x24 m building, spanning one level, built of rendered rubble stone with dressed stone framing and quoins. It has unusable attic space and a slate roof.
Currently used for reception purposes, it comprises a reception area and a corridor leading to four offices as well as an entrance hall connected to the large granaries, an entrance hall by which a set of steps and a slope provide access to the lowest level of the granaries.
Effective floor surface area approx. 120 m².
The large granaries (AH)
This 13th century, 58x9.40 m, storage building, spanning two levels under attic space, has 1 metre thick walls. It ends on the market town side with a gable wall flanked by two turrets. It is a superb, rare example of the functional buildings that were built at this time. Its long, south-facing roof slope was part of the perimeter wall.
The lower level consists of nine barlong, Plantagenet Gothic style vaulted bays, with adjoining interior columns and exterior buttresses. The vaults begin at a height of 2.40 m with keystones at a height of 7.80 m.
The top level of the outer surface of the vaults can be reached via an outside stairway going through certain buttresses.
The attic space features a mixed roofing framework with truss-bearing rafters and an intermediary reinforcing purlin as well as linking struts between the queen post and said purlin, supporting a slate roof.
On the lower level, the first five bays on the market town side were converted into a chapel in 1830. Residents can use a door in the gable wall, reached via an outside stairway, to access it. The floor is covered with 19th century stone and ceramic tiles; the windows feature stained glass from the local Lobin glassworks.
In the four other bays, an intermediary wooden floor was added at an unspecified time. The lower section comprises an institutional kitchen and its annex rooms; the upper section forming a raised garden level includes four rooms reached via a corridor on the courtyard side. The ceilings are between 3 and 3.40 m high.
The top level is converted into bedrooms and common rooms around a central corridor. The ceilings are 2.60 m high.
It has a total of twenty one bedrooms.
Each floor is connected with the dwelling stairway.
A lift goes to the three levels.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 1,300 m² + attic space.
The dwelling (AH)
This is, in fact, the only and the last part of the Abbey dwelling, known as the south pavilion. Constructed in 1630, it spans three levels under an attic floor and adjoins the large granaries. It constitutes a building, 18x9.90 m inside with a 7 m long wing, protruding by 2.40 m, on the courtyard side, topped with two attics and a hip roof.
In 1830, it was symmetrically, identically doubled as regards proportions and materials such that it appears to have been constructed all at the same time. This brought the internal length to a total of 35.60 m.
The facades, with regular courses of dressed stone as well as thin string courses connecting the window sills and the lintels, feature vertically aligned and alternately arranged casement windows, half-casement windows and recesses which were terminated by alternating semi-circular roof dormers with bull’s eye windows and rectangular pediment roof dormers no longer in existence.
The attic space features a traditional roofing framework in the 17th century section and a truss roofing framework in the 19th century section, all supporting a slate roof. The ridge is 8.60 m high.
On each floor, a corridor on the courtyard side, delimited by a longitudinal load-bearing wall, provides access to the various rooms.
There are some rooms on a mezzanine floor in the projections.
The 17th century wing includes a stairway with two straight flights separated by a central string wall and an intermediate landing under vaults.
The various 17th century rooms include coffered and French painted ceilings, painted panelling and doors, painted walls, and a few fireplaces; some features are concealed by suspended ceilings or wallpaper.
Some of the craftsmen having worked on the building are named as Glagan, a builder, Noël-Dalivon and Lalmant, sculptors as well as Jean Mosnier, a painter.
The ceilings on the three levels are approx. 4.50 m high.
Panoramic views from the upstairs rooms take in the property and the Loire Valley.
This building was converted and used as a retirement home with all the necessary facilities, an institutional kitchen, lounges, twenty two bedrooms with shower room and toilet.
A second stairway and a lift provide access to all the floors.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 1,000 m² + attic space.
The outbuildings (AH)
These 19th century buildings are built of rendered rubble stone, covered with a truss roofing framework, supporting a slate roof.
They include a laundry room, a garage, a workshop and storage areas.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 200 m².
The terraced gardens and the canal (AH)
It is difficult to imagine that these were the terraced gardens praised during the different eras by famous visitors as they have been modified in size and style: covered galleries, ornamental pools, etc. no longer in existence. Even so, what remains exudes a certain charm: the terraces and their support walls, dominating the canal created in the 17th century with the demolition of the Romanesque church in order to set out the winding waterway, the bridge and the 17th century doors, as well as several features rebuilt in the 19th century.
9,000 m² + 17,000 m² currently left as grassland.
The mill courtyard (AH)
Below the fortified section, this courtyard is delimited by the long side of a barn roof, said barn being extended by a wall featuring the opening, on the west or market town side, by the long side of the roof on the large granaries on the north side, by the mill facade on the east side and by the river on the south side
Two metres above the mean water level and constituting its bank, downstream from the mill, it forms a small haven of peace, soothed by the sound of water.
Approx. 1,600 m².
The barn (AH)
Accessed from the courtyard, built in the 19th century of rubble stone, rendered such that the stone is exposed, this 6x12 m barn features dressed stone quoins and framing under a truss roofing framework, supporting a slate roof. It spans one level and a mezzanine floor.
It is used as a utility building and houses the mains gas-fired boiler as well as storage space.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 110 m².
The mill (AH)
Constructed in the 19th century on the site of one of the twin mills from the Middle-Ages, this 7x15.50 m mill spans four levels topped with attic space. Each floor of its rendered rubble stone walls is marked with a string course. Its facades feature dressed stone arched windows and quoins under a truss roofing framework, supporting a slate roof.
It has full French ownership rights as regards the water.
A turbine was installed in 1980.
Used for accommodating groups, it comprises an entrance hall, a lounge, a kitchen that is also used as a dining room, a machine room, two stairways and a hall area, seventeen bedrooms, three shower rooms and three toilets as well as a large meeting room under the rafters.
Ceilings are between 2.40 m and 3 m high.
Effective floor surface area of approx. 450 m².
The paddock (CH)
Accessed via the uppermost entrance on the left-hand side, this paddock is delimited on the north side by the EPHAD buildings, followed by the tithe barn; on the south side, by the wine storehouse; and at the east end, by vines.
Ground surface area of approx. 5,000 m².
In an excellent location in relation to tourist routes, the buildings have always been lived in and regularly maintained.
They are all habitable and usable. They can continue to receive guests in the different classifications of accommodation which provide management flexibility and a current capacity of ninety bedrooms.
The garden terraces are but waiting to be restored to their former glory and, once again, become sumptuous gardens.
The various sections could be grouped in order to be sold separately.
|Land registry surface area||3 ha 80 a 47 ca|
|Number of bedrooms||20|
|Main building surface area||1000 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||2000 m2|
Bruno Van Montagu +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.