an Art Nouveau style, large, luxurious home with an interesting garden house
The renowned town of Lourdes is set amidst mountain landscapes in the French department of Hautes-Pyrénées. Its town centre is somewhat different to what might be imagined. It has, in fact, the authentic appearance of a small Pyrenean town, with typical exposed stone houses, featuring marble-framed openings and slate-covered roofs.
Lourdes train station and Lourdes-Tarbes airport put it within easy reach. Pau airport is but 50 minutes away.
On the garden side, that opposing the street facade, an oblong garden, flanked by two walls separating it from adjacent properties, leads to a second, 2-storey house. The latter is marked by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods and features characteristic railings.
A large, luxurious, designer house
Spanning three levels over cellars and under an attic floor, this robust, late 19th century building clearly reflects the style of its time, Art Nouveau. Without any pretence of wanting to be compared to the particular, emblematic style of the “School of Nancy”, it bears, courtesy of the freedom of types, strong similarities: the semi-circular oriel on the street facade, spanning the full height of the two main levels; the sculptures topping pilasters or small columns and representing symbols of the architecture and building trades; and also, the alternating of light and dark grey stone in the quoins that flank the flat surfaces covered with red-ochre rendering. The garden facade contrasts however, its soberness being in keeping with the traditional architecture of the Bigorre region.
Although the basement receives little daylight, it represents an unusual entity for this type of level. In fact, a corridor provides access to actual rooms and a once open-air balcony corridor runs along the garden side. It deserves to be enhanced by a future, currently unknown vocation.
The entrance vestibule stands out as one of the house’s most emblematic features. Its size, the height of its ceiling and the richness of its decoration clearly indicate that it is used for reception purposes. Light floods in via the oriel as well as another window, both on either side of the entrance door.
Varnished oak wood takes pride of place in the herringbone pattern parquet flooring, the impressive stairway with its balusters as well as the door and window frames, all reflecting the same reddish-brown hue. Moulding and ornamentation on the doors as well as their tympanums are of an excellent quality.
Said vestibule opens into a room, with its original, very stylish, polychrome stucco decoration on the very high ceiling. A modern kitchen has been installed in the old one. An anteroom. A large area, in use as a lounge, was built on to the house in the 1970’s; it extends into the garden.
The landing has wooden features (parquet flooring as well as door and window frames) and stucco decoration which are as impressive as those on the ground floor. It provides access to three bedrooms, a dressing room and a bathroom, with a shower, which has been installed in what was a bedroom. A separate toilet.
This level has the same layout as the first floor apart from the fact that there is no bathroom. A shower room has been installed behind the stairway going up to the attic space. Four bedrooms and a separate toilet.
The garden house
An architectural feature of particular interest courtesy of its rarity, this garden house takes on great importance because of the unusual size for such a function. Constructed at the same time as the large, luxurious home, it was however extended at a slightly later date. Its style essentially corresponds to that of local Bigorre houses, with light-coloured rendering on the facade and a slate roof. Its proportions are harmonious and the materials used for the facade, notably wood, make the building’s purpose clear. Currently in a fairly poor state of repair, it awaits major restoration works.
This level is divided into two rooms, the biggest of which (40 m²) originally only measured 17 m². A spiral stairway going upstairs is of a particularly successful shape and obviously the work of a talented designer.
Its layout is different from that of the ground floor as it comprises three rooms overlooking the garden, reached via a landing, given special aesthetic attention by the architect. The construction of the door and window frames is interesting as it is somewhat reminiscent of the era’s colonial style.
This is a rare property comprising two contemporary houses with totally different functions, leading to very different architectural approaches. Street and garden were determinant in the architectural choices: a very elaborate style on the street side is the result not only of the Art Nouveau style but also the materials used; a refined, Bigorre style is reflected by both houses facing one another on the garden side. The quality of the construction is equally as outstanding as the overall design.
Works need to be scheduled to give this property back its splendour of yesteryear.
A delight for an enthusiast of architecture and history.
|Number of bedrooms||6|
|Main building surface area||354.5 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||116.5 m2|
Philippe Fritsch +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.