near to Agen on the heights of Lot-et-Garonne
Ten or so kilometres from Agen, equidistant from Bordeaux and Toulouse.
The magnificent panoramic views of this part of the countryside around Agen are particularly sought after: when the weather conditions are right, the landscape is completely transformed and the highly characteristic silhouette of the Pyrenean mountain range quite magically appears strangely close along the southern horizon!
The proximity of the prefecture and all its advantages, airport, future TGV train station, sixth form colleges and universities, motorway slip road as well as supermarkets make this corner of Gascony particularly attractive as it appears to have everything going for it especially if its heritage, the renown of its gastronomy and its climate are taken into account.
Passing the splendid ruins of a Benedictine church (listed as a French historic monument) on the left-hand side, visitors follow a majestic driveway lined with cedar trees to reach the property’s gates. They continue across the parklands planted with trees that are centuries old before the long, 18th century facade of the east-facing residence comes into view. The Medieval section of the chateau is to be found at the back on the south and west sides.
The chateau and its outbuildings (carcass in a very good state of repair) are set around a large garden. A little on one side and towards the rear of the chateau is a fully enclosed “priest’s garden”, a small vegetable and herb garden, communicating with the utility rooms. Behind this group of buildings is a vast cowshed (435 m²) which can be accessed via a narrow country lane running alongside the chateau on a lower level.
And lastly, accommodation for the caretaker has been converted in a section of the outbuildings (separate entrance).
The parklands, the garden, the driveway flanked by wide grassy strips and a wood, off to one side, form the grounds that span almost ten hectares.
A little background
The origin of the property is lost in the mists of time. In fact, the archives of a Cluniac monastery, no longer in existence, confirm that it existed already in the 11th century: they recount the important role of the neighbouring fortress which was this chateau.
In the Middle-Ages the residence was flanked by four defensive towers and machicolation. The internal Medieval architecture often remained rudimentary as here, where there is just one vast room per floor.
It is known that the chateau was particularly exposed during the French Wars of Religion which experienced some extremely bitter episodes in this corner of Gascony.
The property was not modernised until the 18th century: defence no longer being a priority, it was decided to adapt the house to the new ways of living.
Consequently, a few towers were done away with and the building was lowered by a floor. A reception wing was created and the austere Medieval spiral stairway was favourably replaced with an elegant and majestic stone stairway that still takes pride of place in the main hall. The structure of the chateau has not been modified since this time.
Illustrious families succeeded one another in this residence and important historic characters were linked with this property. Charles VII (15th century) for example liked to come and stay here to admire the proud Gascony hills from the keep.
And, as is often the case in such places steeped in history, old legends allude to an underground passageway and treasure. Neither has yet been found.
The viscount’s home
This chateau, spanning almost 500 m² of living space (including a 35 m² holiday accommodation unit) has two entrances; one on the front facade and another larger one on the Medieval facade.
This house has two distinct sections that correspond to the remains of the Medieval fortress and the 18th century extension.
The monumental stairway forms the backbone of this residence and the link between the two construction styles.
The reception rooms are in the 18th century wing. The large lounge spanning more than 40 m² has two French windows opening directly on to the parklands. This luminous and pleasant room also has a large marble fireplace with a trumeau, a mirror and stucco decoration. This room is still in its original condition but has great potential. It opens via large double doors into the large entrance hall and communicates via identical doors with another good-sized lounge/living room. This second room has an attractive coffered parquet floor and a marble fireplace with mythological stucco decoration and panelling. An elegant dentil course cornice borders the ceiling. Running alongside this room is a wide service corridor (on to which it opens via two glazed doors) which, in turn, opens into a small enclosed garden. This corridor, not in use, originally enabled staff to access the reception rooms without going through them. It connects the large entrance hall to the kitchen. After the utility rooms (kitchen, back kitchen and laundry room) is a small Directoire-style study which is illuminated via a French window opening on to the parklands. At the end of the wing is a last separate room in use as a boiler room/workshop.
This 18th century facade is connected to a section of the outbuildings (a garage with an upstairs and a woodshed) via carriage doors that provide access to the back garden on to which opens the main entrance in the Medieval section. The key feature in this vast, luminous section is the impressive stone stairway. It was built on the site of the former spiral stairway, the openings of which are still to be seen. This hall also communicates with the hall on the front facade via an astonishing corridor passing through the thick walls. The last room on the ground floor, opening on to the hall, is a superb large dining room extended by its kitchen section. This room with its very high windows and its large stone fireplace still exudes Medieval character.
A narrow wooden stairway leads from the laundry room up to the bedrooms in the 18th century section without having to use the main stairway. A long corridor provides access to a vast bathroom as well as two charming bedrooms with their Directoire-style cupboards and their wonderful view over the parklands. A small door at the end of the corridor opens on to the wide landing of the main stairway. Four other bedrooms can be reached from this landing, including the master bedroom with its superb wooden fireplace which has the much sought-after view to the south and an elegant private bathroom. The landing also provides access to a small, 19th-century-style, oratory chapel and a stairway leading to the sole living room on the 2nd floor: a library. This delightful room is laid out in the octagonal tower together with its wooden fireplace. It has an unobstructed view over the parklands. This library, a haven of tranquillity, never leaves the visitors who are fortunate enough to find it indifferent. The remainder of this floor is taken up by attic space. All the bedrooms, notably those in the Medieval section, are refined, in pristine condition and have a fireplace.
The holiday accommodation unit
This unit is an integral part of the house.
It can be accessed via two entrances and has its own narrow stairway.
Comprising a lounge-kitchen, a bedroom and a shower room, it has a view over the parklands and the Gascony hills. It partially extends over the carriage doors.
The outbuildings span a total floor surface area of more than 950 m², most of which could be converted.
They comprise garages, a wood loft, storage areas, wine storehouses, a covered area, a workshop, a cowshed, a wood shed, a barn, etc.
One section of the outbuildings (approx. 100 m²) has been converted into accommodation for a caretaker.
With two bedrooms, a living room including an American-style kitchen and a shower room, the caretaker can live independently whilst keeping a discrete eye on the chateau.
This former cowshed spanning approx. 435 m² is located beyond the other outbuildings.
Following on from the main house, this garage spanning approx. 30 m² is topped with a hayloft of the same size. The adjoining woodshed spans approx. 30 m².
The external outbuildings include a 240 m² wine storehouse, a 40 m² workshop and a 75 m² covered area. All measurements are approximate.
On the coast, there are two types of houses: those with a sea view and the others. Similarly, in this part of Lot-et-Garonne, there are two types of residences: those with a view of the Pyrenees and the others. This house belongs to the first category which, amongst many other “good points”, helps to make it an almost ideal property. In addition to its exceptional geographic position, it is steeped in history and legend, it is of a respectable size without being gigantic, its internal and external aspects both have a great deal of character and its parklands, with their magnificent cedar of Lebanon tree-lined driveway, have style.
The outbuildings with their extraordinary potential make it possible to envisage a letting activity.
|Land registry surface area||9 ha 89 a 42 ca|
|Main building surface area||500 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||950 m2|
Armelle Chiberry du Vignau +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.