with a caretaker’s cottage, towers, a dovecote, a stable and 7.5 ha
3½ hours from Paris via the A4 motorway, 2 hours from Luxembourg and the Belgian border, less than an hour from Nancy and Bar-le-Duc.
Near to Vaucouleurs, a small town which, in 1429, saw Joan-of-Arc leave to join Charles VII so as to drive the English out of France.
This property is set in a little town which dominates the river Meuse.
The actual buildings were constructed in 1784 for one of King Louis XVI’s advisors.
This chateau is flanked by a caretaker’s cottage and vast outbuildings forming the outer bailey, with two towers and a dovecote.
Fully enclosed by high walls on the village side, this property slopes gently down to the river Meuse, with parklands and pathways going through a wooded section to some 5 ha of pastures.
This chateau spans two levels over cellars and under a steep slate roof, featuring wrought zinc bull’s eye windows which illuminate the attic.
The courtyard facade, all on a level, is constructed from lime-rendered quarry stone blocks. It comprises a main building, flanked by two pavilions set at right angles, a central, oak wood entrance door, the glazed section of which is embellished with turned wood. Its slightly curved, small-paned windows have stone surrounds.
On the parklands side, the main building is built this time of dressed stone on a lower section, with windows illuminating the cellars.
A slightly protruding, central bay is topped with a triangular pediment, housing an oculus, a first-floor balcony and a porch with dual stairways leading to the parklands.
Four regular bays on either side feature rectangular windows, topped with keystones sculpted with acanthus leaves.
Whilst all the facades feature doors, the main entrance on the courtyard side opens into the main vestibule, with polished stone floor tiles, laid in a chessboard pattern. It also houses a solid oak wood stairway, its balusters carved with laurel leaves, going up to the first floor. A study features an 18th century stone fireplace decorated with acanthus leaves, panelling concealing cupboards and a painting depicting Leda with Zeus in the form of a bull. It is followed by a hall area, with a toilet, a sauna room, with a shower, as well as room awaiting restoration, with a marble fireplace topped with a trumeau and a mirror. A little corridor leads from the vestibule to a toilet, a linen room and a kitchen, where an impressive cast iron stove fills the hearth of the fireplace. It has cement floor tiles. Five reception rooms on the parklands side have dominant views of the river Meuse and the surrounding countryside. Adjoining and separated by elegant, wrought doors, they include a ladies’ sitting room with large, 18th century cupboards, a marble fireplace and laddered herringbone pattern parquet flooring. A small lounge, with wainscoting and a marble fireplace, topped with a trumeau with a mirror and a painting depicting a gallant scene. The oak wood parquet flooring in this latter room is especially wrought. The third and central room which communicates with the vestibule is enhanced with a series of eleven canvas paintings, depicting every day and gallant scenes; their frames an integral part of the panelling. This room has herringbone pattern parquet flooring and a French window opening on to the porch and the parklands. A dining room, with parquet flooring identical to the previous room, has a marble fireplace topped with a mirror trumeau. An identical mirror is set between two windows overlooking the parklands, above a floral cast iron radiator, also used as a plate-warmer. At the end of this room, a landscape painting depicting a harvest replaces an old canvas that was destroyed during the war. And lastly, a television room, with oak wood randomly matched parquet flooring and panelling either side of a marble fireplace, fitted with a cast iron wood-burning stove.
The main stairway leads to a gallery that looks down on to the vestibule via a set of arcades. This level comprises seven bedrooms, with marble fireplaces, panelling and oak or pitch-pine wood parquet flooring, as well as two bathrooms and a shower room which communicates with a dressing room. A small flat, with the possibility of a separate entrance via the back stairway, comprises a bedroom, a lounge, a kitchen and a shower room. This area, in its original condition, could be converted or used for different purposes. Just like the reception rooms on the ground floor, the main bedrooms have panoramic views looking out over the parklands.
This level, currently in use as attic space, could be converted.
The parklands side of this level is divided into several storage rooms, whilst the vaulted section on the courtyard side is used as a wine cellar.
The outbuildings, dating from the same era as the chateau, include a caretaker’s cottage at the entrance to the property. Spanning two levels, it comprises a kitchen, a shower room with toilet, four rooms, a laundry room, a small one-room flat with a kitchen and two garages. This cottage has its own garden, enclosed by fencing.
Forming a perimeter wall on the other side of the chateau, a group of buildings also open on to the road side via a basket-handle arched carriage gateway as well as a pedestrian gate, set between the two towers with their candlesnuffer roofs. These buildings house a small hayloft, a boiler room and a tack room, a workshop as well as ten horse loose boxes with automatic watering troughs. And lastly, a lime-rendered quarry stone block dovecote, featuring a stone string course and fish-scale roof tiles. It still has its turning ladder and the 780 dove-holes that demonstrate the importance of the original fiefdom.
This chateau stands out courtesy of an outstanding stylistic unity reflecting a pure Louis XVI style. The builders, joiners and painters’ knowledge of the aesthetic codes fashionable in Paris at this time is, of course, blended with regional practices. The result is a perfect equilibrium. This quality greatly contributes to the peaceful preparation of a Pre-Romantic way of life, still much appreciated today.
This property also combines two advantages: that of being in the midst of a village on the courtyard side and the impression of being totally secluded on the parklands side, with an endless view in the direction of a colourful, well-named valley, the Val-des-Couleurs.
|Land registry surface area||7 ha 51 a 56 ca|
|Main building surface area||686 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||400 m2|
North & West Marne and East Aube department
Florence Fornara       +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.