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These three houses with stone-clad facades and rhythmic red door frames were once the outbuildings of the château de Courances. Today they form a hamlet dedicated to holidays and seminars on the outskirts of the village and at the edge of the park. The refined decor is, for the most part, made up of noble materials such as the terracotta and wood, they are enlivened with warm hues and enhanced by the elegant country furniture. The toils that brought this estate to life are long gone, yet they have instilled a certain self-sufficiency in its daily life. It is now a place of rest and a direct point of access to the large park which has been classified as a "remarkable garden".
We were enchanted by these three charming terraced houses - the Mill, the Pump and the Workshop - located near Fontainebleau and Barbizon, great towns of art and history. This green and peaceful setting is in the heart of the château de Courances park and overlooks one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, the Japanese garden - it is a haven on peace.
When we started the restoration work, the biggest challenge on the site was cleaning up the foundations; we had to redo them to strengthen them and protect them from the onslaught of water. This structural work involved moving The Pump. It was, unsurprisingly, very difficult to move such a large structure. As for the paved courtyard, it was in very bad condition and was redone entirely. It was laid in the old fashioned way on a bed of lightly limed sand. Following the damage of World War II, parts of the estate were repaired with concrete in the 1970s and 1980s. When the restoration was planned, there were little or no original materials that could have been reused. It seemed obvious, however, that high quality materials should be used; so the walls were worked with lime and the floors were covered with old tiles. The insulation was made with hemp, a plant fibre known for its perspiring properties. The regional park of the French Gâtinais, which houses the château de Courances, has established a local hemp industry and encourages the use of this great material which, in addition to being effective, pleasantly perfumes the walls. Decorated with elegance and sobriety, each of these three houses has a unique atmosphere and charm.
Now a stunning haven of peace, the Hameau de Courances was at the heart of the bustling château de Courances until the middle of the 20th century. The paved courtyard of the hamlet forms a cul-de-sac in the rue du Moulin. Through the presbytery, the water from the spring fed the mill which in turn fed the pump, which in turn fed a carpentry workshop. During the war, the park of Courances was occupied on more than one occasions (first by the Germans, then the Americans) and all the outbuildings were left to deteriorate. Following the post-agricultural revolution and the evolution of modes of production and consumption, areas such as Courances have slowly but surely had less need to produce in order to survive. The abandoned outbuildings fell into disuse, some were destroyed and others, such as ours, were used for storage for a time. Between 1970 and 1980, the hydraulic system of the pump became electric and the wheel of the mill was stopped. It was not until 2016 that the Hamlet was reborn from the ashes!
In the heart of the Château de Courances park, we offer a privileged setting for a unique experience. Thanks to the support of enthusiasts and the expertise of some committed craftsmen, these historic buildings have been transformed into modern living spaces while still maintaining their souls. They are now the scene of unique experiences - waking up to the sound of the water swirling around the wheel of the Mill, opening the window to marvel at the Japanese garden, or going for a stroll along the paths of the château de Courances' immense park. This is what our guests will experience. We know that it's the little things that make an experience unique and unforgettable, so we've carefully considered every detail: beautiful tableware, a fireplace ready to be lit on cool evenings, an ideal library and board games to relax. To make these stays even more pleasant for our guests, we over room service with breakfast and meals delivered to your door.
As we are in the heart of the Château de Courances park, a guided tour of the gardens is a must! We recommend stopping by the village of Barbizon which saw a great number of visiting artists for nearly fifty years between 1825 and 1875. The influence of these artists can still be seen throughout the village, especially in the galleries and workshops of today. The Bistrot du Bas-Bréau has been established in the former hall of the Auberge de l'Exposition where painters liked to meet and savour small dishes.
The hamlet offers a privatised house dedicated to meetings, workshops, training sessions for a maximum of sixty people. This turnkey service has all the comfort and equipment necessary, food and charming accommodation on site or nearby are also provided.