A narrow road winds its way from the large market town between tiny grazing fields, some apple orchards and coppice stands. After two kilometres, an attractive lane lined with horse-chestnut trees makes it way between the meadows to the estate which remains out of sight until the final bend where there is a discreet parking area. The very old moats, dug well before the castle was built, can be seen on the left-hand side. Cows graze peacefully in the distance on the right-hand side. Numerous palm trees form a screen in front of the tower and the facade. The buildings are arranged such as to form an enclosure around a square courtyard. The castle takes up the south side of this courtyard opposite a fountain, its outbuildings being set out around the other three sides. A barn on the north side stands parallel to the castle. Smaller buildings on the east and west sides virtually close the courtyard. An old fig tree and numerous plants of all kinds fill the space. An old cowshed, to the west of the enclosure, has been cleverly restored as a guest house. At the back is an orchard and a vegetable garden, all immaculately kept and in proportion with the buildings.
The origins of the property appear to date back to the 14th century and the castle still has numerous Medieval features. The rectangular building is flanked at one end by a tower topped with a candlesnuffer roof and a weather vane sporting a coat-of-arms. The north and south facades feature numerous transom windows, each with stained glass. The rendering is tinted with sienna earth and predominantly in a good state of repair.
The roof of the dwelling is covered with Roman tiles which, together with the palm and olive trees, give the property a southern air. A first set of restoration works were carried out during the 1970’s by a learned specialist of the Middle-Ages. These works have been continued by the current owner, also an enthusiast of this historic period. The results are reflected in its overall appearance as well as in numerous features.
The main, almost central door, accessed by a few steps, bears a coat-of-arms and is topped by an oculus. This door is still fitted with a blocking system including a horizontal oak wood bar housed inside the wall, hence the expression “bar the door”, a feature which has not been changed since the construction. The stairways are directly ahead and a door opens off each side, in a typically Medieval configuration. On the left-hand side, the large, north-south-facing lounge is luminous. The stained glass has been designed to suit the configuration, with warm colours for the north side and colder colours for the south. The walls are made of limestone as are the flagstones. The ceiling with its exposed beams and joists adds to the Medieval atmosphere of the room, comprising an immense fireplace with a coat-of-arms on the lintel. The transom windows still have their stone window seats. The only contemporary features are the discreetly positioned radiators for the central heating system. A low door in the lounge leads to the tower with its study. To the right of the entrance, a corridor provides access to a bedroom adjoining a shower room and toilet. The corridor continues to the dining room and to the kitchen. The dining room has a flagstoned floor and a superb fireplace. A door on the south side opens on to the garden and a round gazebo where meals are served when the weather is clement. The kitchen is fitted with a large traditional bread oven in good working order with a more contemporary kitchen range facing the oven. Adjacent to the kitchen is a second dining room which, half inside and half outside, is useful in the summer. A large ogee door opens into the courtyard with its fountain.
The superb central stairway provides access upstairs. At the top, to the right, is the large master bedroom. Its double aspect, north and south-facing windows still have their indoor shutters, like most of the other windows in the house. At the back of this bedroom is a dressing room, followed by a bathroom. On the left-hand side of the landing is a second bedroom or library. A small room above the stairway, accessed from the bedroom, currently serves as a dressing room. During Medieval times it was used for firing on attackers who tried to get passed the entrance below. This bedroom still has its fireplace. And lastly, a door on the east side leads to a small bedroom set up in the tower, a room which would make a superb bathroom.
The building has long been divided into two sections via a partition wall composed of planks of chestnut wood. In a good state of repair, it is currently used on one side as a large room as well as a summer bedroom, and on the other side as a workshop as well as a storage room. Beneath two other smaller roofs are further storage areas and workshops.
Set at a distance from the enclosure, an old cowshed has been scrupulously restored and transformed into a guest house. Its entrance door opens into a small courtyard enhanced by a fountain, the countryside with a few cows stretches into the distance.
Comprising a bedroom, a kitchen-lounge and a superb bath-shower room, it was built using traditional materials: terracotta floors, chestnut wood plank ceilings, walls rendered in such a way as to leave part of the stone visible, exposed beams, etc. The atmosphere exuded by the property is original, especially as the large window overlooking the pond where the cows come to drink just a few metres away acts as a reminder of its initial vocation.
The gardens were created in the 1970’s by its owner of the time who was friends with a famous landscape gardener. His style can be clearly seen when crossing the orchard. Not overly widespread, nor requiring much attention, they provide fruit, vegetables and shade in the summer. The hives provide honey. The successful concentration of plants on the south side pleasantly contrasts with the other sections of the garden. Its palm, olive and large banana trees as well as its climbing roses brings other landscapes to mind as well as leading to the wonderful slate tiled ornamental-swimming pool with its rounded coping.