18th Century Townhouseclose to Saint-Clar
Converted Stables & Views to Pyrenees
Lovers of high-ceilings and 18th century homes with richly ornate fireplaces and period features will find this classically beautiful village property a delight.
The property sits high on the ramparts of a Gascon village which enjoys far-reaching views.
The village lies to the front of the property the walled-garden to the rear.
The view takes in the sweep of the valley to the south and reaches on a fine day as far as the Pyrenees.
One of the most original and remarkable features of the property is the ancient cobbled entrance hall which runs from the main door to the garden.
This ancient passageway, which once echoed to the clip clop of horses hooves as they were led through to the stables, was for many years open to the elements.
In more recent years with the addition of doors at each end, and the transformation of the stables into a guest house, this remarkable hallway has become part of the property and serves as a traditional entrance-hall.
This wide hallway lends a sense of space and of history to the property and today leads to two spacious downstairs double bedrooms, a summer kitchen/laundry-room and private bathrooms.
Both bedrooms face the village to the North and both have access to a downstairs shower-room.
These rooms (one of which was once used to exhibit paintings to the public) are separate from the owner’s private upstairs appartments and would be ideal as chambres d’hôtes, or perhaps with the big old front door flung open to the village, could be converted into a gallery or other commerce.
On the ground floor there is a separate claokroom/WC and an ancient downstairs kitchen which has been recently refurbished to create a lovely summer kitchen overlooking the south-facing garden.
A room close to the rear garden door is currently used for the storage of logs for the upstairs fireplaces.
Our line of vision is drawn from the hallway to the garden, where there is a covered terrace area for outdoor dining in the warmer months and a decorative stone well.
The garden is small and contained for easy upkeep – but oh! – what a view. The bottom tip of the garden has a small stone wall which runs the length of the garden beyond.
The landscape tumbles below, field after field, a distant road carving its way into the scenery, the cars seen from above winding their way below like children’s toys.
This landscape is a living tableau which moves and changes, from the tractor in the fields to the snow-capped mountains beyond and is a joy throughout the seasons, with wheat or sunflower alternating each year.
The converted stable block sit in the grounds to the rear, accessible only through the house.
In here there are two spacious floors, each with windows facing south enjoying the same fantastic views with a newly fitted shower room, sink and WC (sani-broyer) on the ground-floor.
Returning to the house from the garden, we climb the old turning wooden staircase to a typically decorative 18th century door on the landing where there is a sense of arriving at the doors of private inner quarters within the house.
If the first floor has an echo of horses hooves and the essence of an inn with its old converted stables, then architecturally the first floor is pure 18th century in style and finery.
The old door opens onto a large spacious hallway with an old blown-glass window with views to the south and original parquet floors.
The dining room (currently used as the main reception-room) boasts a magnificent open fire with an original decorative wooden surround.
This room opens onto a first-floor covered terrace which is a delightful place to sit and enjoy the views over the gardens.
The kitchen sits between this first room (described above) and a second reception room on the village side, where there is a small green enamel woodburning stove which is also in working order. Here the old wooden floors have been covered with more recent wooden flooring and a more contemporary feel.
Besides this second reception-room, is a study which houses a small separate cloakroom/WC. This room could also be used as a bedroom. Interestingly the cloakroom was once a shower-room.
A large double bedroom looks out over the front of the property and also has a decorative wooden fireplace which is not used.
This bedroom shares a bathroom and a dressing-room with the fourth bedroom, positioned at the rear of the property and with views to the south.
The high-ceilings, original beams, old wooden floors and decorative fireplaces all contribute to the period feel of this home.
Here at Bliss
This property offers a number of remarkable period features and combines the feel of an intimate 18th Century Parisian appartment on the first-floor during the winter months, with a much larger home, opening onto the gardens and guest-house and first-floor rooms in the summer.
The gardens are attractive and well planted with a variety of roses and shrubs – along with a magnificent old wisteria which trails over the covered terrace to the rear.
The elevated first-floor terrace area is a delighful and sheltered spot in which to enjoy those « inbetween » months.
The owners of this property may choose to occupy the entire space as one single spacious home, or live on the first floor as one would in an appartment, with guests or family using the ground floor and converted stable guest-house.
Once the impressive main doors to the property are opened, there is an invitation to enter the cobbled passageway which could be exploited perhaps by an artist wishing to display pottery or paintings in this fantastic space.
The addition of the downstairs kitchen/laundry room is an intelligent one – facilitating the preparation of food for outdoor dining. This conversion ensures a far fuller incorporation of the garden into the house.
What would I do if this property were mine?
I would consider moving part of the relatively small upstairs kitchen into the dining-room with its first-floor terrace to create a large kitchen/dining-room.
The current kitchen has the feel of an « appartment » kitchen – perhaps the size of a decent Parisian kitchen and uses only borrowed-light from the adjacent room.
The dining-room has the advantage of having the lovely open fire which would add warmth and character to the new kitchen.
Perhaps I would leave some of the nosier kitchen elements (dish-washer) in the current kitchen which would become a rear kitchen or pantry for storage, creating a spacious and beautiful new kitchen.
Having seen this fireplace filled with burning logs one winter some years ago, I can promise there is no lovelier place to sit and dine on a cold winter’s day.
The addition of a good-sized pool in the walled garden to the rear is possible (relative planning permission would be required for but à priori is authorised).
The pool once established would enjoy a gorgeous and elevated position worthy of any infinity pool.
To whom would this property not appeal ?
Anyone for whom a separate garage area is required – though one could potentially be bought or rented in the village.
NB: There is adequate free parking-space for numerous cars to the front of the property.
Clients for whom the sense of a luxurious first-floor private appartment is not something they are looking for – as most of the main or more beautiful rooms and none of the reception-rooms are on garden level.
Points of note
- 2 double downstairs bedrooms – both with access to private bathrooms
- Ground floor kitchen / WC
- Elevated gardens with far-reaching views
- Converted and spacious 2 floor stone guest-house (could also be an artist’s studio. Vast rooms)
- Covered terrace-area in garden
- Water well
- Upstairs kitchen
- Upstairs covered terrace
- Reception room
- Study (with private WC)
- 2 first-floor double bedrooms
- 1st floor bathroom with separate dressing-room
- Lovely views
- Small manageable gardens
- Feauture cobbled entrance hall
- NB – there is no separate garage but the cobbled porch/ entrance hall is wide enough and the floor strong enough to be driven over.
- The current owners tell us that they have put motor bikes in the covered terrace area in the garden.
- Restaurants on foot.
- St Clar has numerous shops, doctor’s surgery, Intermarché supermarket, cafés, pizzeria.
- For the quality of architecture, the size of the property, the additional benefit of the guest-house and the superb views, the current-asking price of this property is extremely attractive in what is a popular and touristic part of Gascony.
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