with listed features, 100 km to the south of Paris
This property is 90 minutes to the south of Paris via the A6 motorway and 2 km from a town, with amenities, shops, a school and bus links to Montargis, Malesherbes and Orléans train stations. It stands in the midst of a farming region, where the open sky and all views are completely unobstructed.
The stronghold house
The original construction, most certainly dating from the 12th century, was part of the Lyards family Seigneury at this time. The primitive building was one of those fortified sites built on a plain, with a motte surrounded by moats.
In the 14th century, its owner, Guillaume-de-Beaune known as Roland, gave his land to Saint-Denis Abbey on his return from a pilgrimage. In the 15th century, it appears that the first building was destroyed by the English and replaced by the current stronghold house, with curtain walls and round towers. In 1587, further destruction is attributed to German and Swiss mercenary soldiers, retreating after their defeat at the Battle of Vimory. The perimeter wall fell but the stronghold house resisted. Following a marriage and land given as a dowry, admiral Roland-Barrin-de-la-Galissonnière, governor of Canada from 1747 to 1749, became its owner.
In the 19th century, the stronghold house, then qualified as a chateau and still known as such today, became a farm. Its last owner, painter Zao-Wou-Ki, carried out full restoration works, making it his home and his studio.
Several doors provide access from the garden into each of the rooms on this level. The kitchen features a bar and opens into the dining room and the lounge. The fireplace, bearing coats-of-arms belonging to the Languedoüe family is listed, as are the corner tower and the spiral stairway going upstairs.
The painter kept this level for his own personal use. It comprises a vast library, a bedroom, with a shower room and a toilet, a dressing room and a bathroom, with a toilet.
The attic space has been converted into two large areas used for accommodating guests. The first comprises a bedroom, a mezzanine and a shower room with a toilet; the second has a bedroom and a shower room.
The cellar is most certainly one of the oldest sections of this stronghold house.
The artist’s studio
Zao-Wou-Ki set his studio up in one of the biggest outbuildings, with a total height from floor to ridge of 8 m. The roof features a set of windows installed to create overhead lighting. It was here that he painted his large-scale pieces and the ladder that enabled him to reach the highest parts of his work can be seen in some photographs. The painting rack is also still there.
A mezzanine made it possible for him, on the one hand, to get far enough away to judge the paintings he was working on and, on the other, to work horizontally on paper pieces courtesy of the light coming in through the roof dormers.
The biggest stretchers were taken in and out through a heavy armoured door set in an exceptionally tall doorway.
The caretaker’s cottage
This cottage comprises a bedroom, a lounge, a dining room, a kitchen, a shower room and a toilet.
The studio flat
This flat can be used for accommodating guests. It consists of a main room, with a kitchen area, and a shower room, with a toilet.
This barn still awaits conversion and provides potential for the development of a second artist’s studio or additional living space.
The machine room
The swimming pool and the pool-house
The swimming pool, set in a corner of the property faces the artist’s studio. The pool-house is on a level with the garden.
All these buildings still exude the presence of painter Zao-Wou-Ki who made them his haven and site of creation. The paint-stained floor of the artist’s studio, the exceptionally tall door and the painting rack are but some of the features bearing witness to the inventiveness and energy of an artist who was not afraid of large-scale paintings. The fascinating history of this stronghold house defies time just as the posterity of an immense canvas will. The patronage is there. It is now up to new owners to give these premises a new lease on life as best they see fit. Inspiration should not be a problem.
|Land registry surface area||5984 m2|
|Main building surface area||413 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||630 m2|
Virgile Durand +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.