A very old episcopal residence behind an 18th century facade
an hour from Toulouse facing the Pyrenean mountains

Location

In the south of the French department of Haute-Garonne, an hour from Spain and Toulouse (international airport and TGV train station). Ten minutes from a small, unspoilt market town with primary and secondary schools, a large variety of little shops, restaurants, a library and even a good cinema.

Description

A rectangular, Gascon village square, facing east-west on a crest amongst the variegated, rolling hills that provide Gascony with all of its charm, facing the Pyrenean mountains, like a belvedere in a natural, almost grandiose setting. A small monument and lime trees, a church with a bell-wall, an old covered market, in front of which it is still possible to see the remains of a weighbridge. Furthermore, a peace and quiet that has now become rare even in the smallest of towns. Behind a sober facade, on this extremely classical looking square, is concealed what was the largest section of the Comminges episcopal palace. Nothing can be seen from the square and visitors have to make the effort to push open a modest door to discover this world. It is possible to talk about “courtyard side” and “garden side” here, more than anywhere else. In fact, an unimagined garden, vestiges of large, divided parklands, extends behind the facade opening on to the square.

The palace

This robust, classical style residence, spanning three levels under an attic floor, is set out around a square courtyard forming a light well. The facade on the square side constitutes the determining feature. The ground floor, generally assigned to all that has to do with domesticity (kitchens, larders, wine cellar, etc.), was at one time converted into a café and a post office. All that remains are several sparse and yet significant features such as a sink, a large fireplace taking pride of place in the room that comprised the old café, a former cloakroom and even the glazed wooden counter of the old post office, preserved inside a large room.
The state rooms looking out over the square are laid out one after another, those overlooking the other sides of the courtyard can be reached differently depending on their layout, all of them forming a maze where everything on view is of a surprising authenticity, from bedrooms with Louis XIV stucco decoration to a neo-gothic dining room. In a polychromy of beams, fragments of a fresco landscape are next to tympanums with scrolls featuring putti. The electric wiring is perfectly concealed. The 20th century has also helped to enhance the residence, especially in the actual kitchen where the owner, a painter, has covered one wall with coloured tiles. A 17th century stairway with balusters has also been painted, marking the taste of an era and a person.
The original rendering which has disappeared from part of the facade facing the square could easily be redone. Whilst the roof is already in pristine condition.


Ground floor
A narrow door opens into a corridor, paved with stones taken from mountain streams, which could have been an alleyway in the Middle-Ages. At the end of the passageway is an opening, topped with a lancet arch, with a rusticated walnut wood door. It is illuminated by a little window overlooking a small courtyard, creating a dramatic effect. Said door precedes two large rooms with magnificent segmental arches and oak wood beams. On the left-hand side is the old café kitchen which in turn opens into the large room with a fireplace. At the end are a toilet, an old cloakroom and the former village post office. The corridor continues as far as a room with a floor made of river pebbles, once a larder. A short passageway leads to a wooden stairway with balusters, dating from the time of Louis XIV, the walls of which have been painted by a famous contemporary Danish artist. A second wine cellar, no doubt older than the previous one, has a packed mud and gravel floor.
First floor
Three adjoining reception rooms and an anteroom look out over the village square. One of them, at the east end, opens into a remarkably well preserved, neo-gothic dining room, illuminated by a window overlooking the main courtyard which also acts as a light well. Each room is individually and beautifully decorated, all three dating from the 18th century. Once past an anteroom with a brick floor and a small, engaged fireplace with a marble mantel, visitors reach a room decorated in pink hues to match its brick floor. Tumeaux with Corinthian style stucco decoration adorn the facade wall on each side of the openings; another with doves and fasces tops a Directory style fireplace. The following room has Versailles pattern parquet flooring and almond green walls. The picture rails on the panelling are topped with stencil decoration matching a bigger version along the top of the walls. The fireplace, with a wrought wooden mantel dating from the 19th century, is topped with a trumeau featuring stucco decoration. The next room has herringbone pattern parquet flooring as well as wall panelling and is decorated with a fireplace, featuring a ducal crown as a trumeau, as well as with sepia-coloured scrolls with putti above the doors. There remains a polychrome trumeau between one of the openings and the door to the preceding room. The dining room features pure gothic style: panelling, door and window frames and a carved fireplace, floor tiles with inlaid decoration and the motif of a stylised Occitan cross, imitation marble paint, ribbed vaults with hanging keystones, a tympanum with polychrome foliated scrolls, stained glass windows, etc.
A bathroom. The main kitchen features a fireplace and interesting contemporary wall tiles in a variety of colours above the cooker. Two large rooms overlook the courtyard. A bedroom with exposed joists, a bathroom with a toilet. Two other bedrooms, including one with an alcove, a shower room and a separate toilet.

Second floor
The sections which are in the most dilapidated state are often those which still have the most character. Such is the case on this second floor, the particular attraction of which is probably the fact that it houses features from a heavily marked 17th century, between 1660 and 1670. The forms and sizes are striking, full-bodied, such as the sculpted sections of a certain alcove or the panelling and the trumeaux. Most of the rooms have parquet flooring and the ceilings have exposed joists. The proportions in general just like those of the openings as well as the window and door frames are particularly outstanding. Out of the nine main rooms, only three are converted into bedrooms.
This level also has a bathroom and a separate toilet.

Attic
The partially converted attic space houses a room, adorned with a sober and charming brick fireplace. A wooden stairway, complete with its 17th century polychrome traces, goes up to a loft extended by a small terrace looking south over the Pyrenean mountain range.

Our opinion

Royal grandeur and sought-after discretion are combined in this spacious residence that ghosts must have been loath to abandon. Although each era has left its mark since the Middle-Ages, they all did so scrupulously respecting the previous additions, a rare combination having made it possible to preserve numerous invaluable features and hand them down through the generations without change. The roof, the electric wiring and the masonry are sound and no major works are required. However, some works to improve home comforts could be envisaged with the creation of additional bathrooms and toilets without having to carry out extensive alterations. Nooks and crannies abound in this pleasant, dusty maze, just waiting to accommodate family and friends.

Exclusive sale

380 000 €
Our fees are included in the stated sale price.


Voir le Barème d'Honoraires

Barème d'honoraires
au 1er Avril 2017

Ventes d'immeubles

À Paris et en Ile-de-France
Prix de vente au-delà de 600 000 euros       5% TTC*
Prix de vente de 400 000 à 600 000 euros   6% TTC*
Prix de vente de 200 000 À 400 000 euros   7% TTC*
Prix de vente jusqu'à 200 000 euros             9% TTC*
Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

En Province
Prix de vente au-delà de 500 000 euros       6% TTC*
Prix de vente jusqu'à 500 000 euros   30 000 Euros TTC* (forfait)
Honoraires à la charge du Vendeur

Expertise

Avis de valeur simple : 1 500 Euros TTC*
Avis de valeur argumenté à partir de 2 500 Euros TTC*
Expertise à partir de 3000 Euros TTC*
Les tarifs des avis de valeurs argumentés et des expertises sont communiqués sur devis personnalisé établis respectivement sur la base d’un taux horaire moyen de :
Avis de valeur argumenté : 60 Euros TTC*
Expertise : 80 Euros TTC*

   

*TTC : TVA incluse au taux de 20 %

Reference 327438

Land registry surface area 988 m2
Main building surface area 1119 m2

Regional representative
Gers

Philippe Fritsch       +33 1 42 84 80 85


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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.


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