A residence, including a school run by nuns during the 1900s and a 17th century dwelling,
awaiting restoration in Joinville, in the French department of Haute-Marne

Location

400 km from Brussels and 240 km from Paris, 2½ hours from Luxembourg, 1½ hours from Dijon and Nancy, 1 hour from Troyes and Der Lake, Europe’s biggest artificial lake. The town has several schools as well as a sixth form college, a hospital and an SNCF train station with links to the main regional towns and the French capital.

Description

Strategically positioned on the borders of the Champagne and Lorraine regions, the town is cited for the first time in 1213. During the Renaissance period, the Dukes of Guise decided to make it their principality, which caused an urban revival still visible today through its wealth of heritage, including the magnificent Chateau-du-Grand-Jardin. In the 19th century, a new page of its history was started with the art foundry. Since this time, the town, in its deeply rural setting, has been somewhat dormant, although its building heritage has been well preserved. The village is currently experiencing new momentum: awarded the “Petite cité de caractère” (small character town) and “Village étape” (stopover village) distinctions, Joinville is about to take part in a local experiment with regard to heritage restoration and the revitalisation of its historic centre which is where this residence is set. Standing at the foot of Notre-Dame church in a maze of narrow, winding, paved streets, typical of medieval towns, it consists of two separate buildings set around a central courtyard, spanning approx. 200 m² and completely enclosed by high stone walls. A small garden, spanning approx. 30 m², can also be reached from the street via a side gate.

The old school run by nuns

This dressed stone building, spanning approx. 130 m², comprises three floors and a cellar. Built directly on the street, it dates from the period known as the Belle-Époque. Its roofing framework has been repaired but the roof itself, in a poor state of repair, has been covered with a tarpaulin to keep it weathertight. The sober facade on the road side features tall openings, the rigorous vertical symmetry of which gives a false impression of indifference. It is dominated by a double roof dormer and an astonishing four-lobed opening. On the courtyard side, the building stands over a covered area, the open end of which is delimited by archways. Visitors’ eyes are drawn to the centre of the building by an elegant pediment adorned with a blind rosette.


Ground floor
The heavy entrance door on the street provides direct access to the 122 m² covered area which forms the ground floor of the building and opens on to the courtyard via a row of archways. A large, oak wood stairway on one side goes upstairs.
First floor
A 5 m² landing, no doubt once a cloakroom, precedes an L-shaped classroom, spanning a little over 100 m². This room has wooden flooring. Its double aspect and its 4 m high ceiling make it extremely bright.
Second floor
The landing provides access to two areas separated by an open half-timbered partition wall. A 60 m² room looks out over the street via openings which still have their original casement bolts. The flooring is still in place, contrary to that of the section overlooking the inner courtyard which no longer exists over a floor surface area of 44 m². The 8.5 m high ceiling provides this level with extremely spacious rooms.

The 17th century house

This dressed stone and quarry block residence, standing at the end of the courtyard, spans two levels linked via an outside lateral stairway. The interlocking tile roof is perfectly weathertight.


Ground floor
The central door opens into a 54 m² room, with a 2.9 m high ceiling featuring superb exposed beams. This room was once divided as is proved by the presence of two fireplaces (one of which is almost completely destroyed) and the heterogeneity of the floor, half wooden flooring and half terracotta tiles. These rooms probably once communicated with another room which is no longer part of the house, given a condemned opening that can still be seen in the brickwork. This room now opens solely into another room set at right angles, the flooring of which no longer exists. A small tower, in the corner of these two rooms, houses a delightful little wooden stairway that leads upstairs.
First floor
This level can be reached in one of two ways, either via the outside stairway sheltered by overhanging eaves, or via the little spiral stairway. Its layout is identical in every way to that of the floor below, including the missing flooring in the room set at right angles, which has paradoxically made it possible to keep the fireplace and its trumeau intact.

Our opinion

Adults sometimes set themselves challenges which take them humbly back to school. This one is far from modest as it consists of transforming old classrooms into living rooms and such major works will inevitably take time. But the building exudes such charm and its character is so special that it is possible to talk about a soul and for it to appeal without embarrassment. Heritage enthusiasts prepared to take on these commendable rehabilitation works will be able to count on help from the members of Joinville’s town council, who are fully committed to such a project. Courtesy of their voluntarism and their ambitious policy regarding the saving of their town centre, new owners will notably receive grants to the value of 40% of the cost of the roofs and facades. Above all, the many ambitions inspired by such vast volumes will be able to rely on the benevolence of a town ready to actively support all projects.

Exclusive sale

30 000 €
Our fees are included in the stated sale price.

Reference 645477

Land registry surface area 433 m2
Main building surface area 380 m2
Outbuilding surface area 120 m2

Regional representative
Aube, Marne Region

Florence Fornara       +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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