House Villebois-Lavalette (16)
A listed, 16th century stately residence, a detached house and 1.3 ha of parklands on the outskirts of a village in the south of the French department of Charente.
Just 25 minutes from Angoulême TGV train station and 125 km from Bordeaux and Limoges airports, near to the boundary of the Périgord region, the market town with 80 inhabitants takes pride of place on a hilltop, set out around a listed church, in countryside composed of farmland and woods. It has a bakery, a plant nursery and a bar; other amenities are a few minutes’ walk away at the foot of the elegant fortified town of Villebois-Lavalette.
In the 13th century, the village was a renowned stopover on one of the Ways of Saint James and a crossroads between the old Roman way coming from the Peninsula and the road linking Paris to Bordeaux. As a result of this strategic location, it become the seat of a Knights’ Templar commandery, the buildings of which took up almost the entire crest of the hill.
Standing in protected parklands, the old, late 16th century castle dominates the plain.
A driveway lined with chestnut trees, preceded by wrought iron gates, forms the main entrance to the property. There is also a wicket gate opposite the entrance door. It opens on to a narrow passageway, running alongside the church and leading to a small public garden and the village square by going around the old chaplaincy. The latter is part of this property. Fully restored, it is currently laid out as a house, spanning two levels, with a small priest’s garden.
The well-kept, flower-filled garden extends to the east of the residence in parklands where fifty or so young trees and shrubs were recently planted by the side of species over a hundred years old. There is also a luxurious henhouse. Depending on the time and the season, it is possible to eat outside on one of the three terraces.
The estate is delimited, on the north side, by a wall which includes a round dovecote tower, topped with a new Roman tile roof and adorned with two sculpted scallop shells. It houses a spiral stone stairway which was used as a passageway to the exterior of the village. In the corner of the rampart is an ideal spot for installing a swimming pool.
The stately residenceThis building, resembling a slightly deformed, asymmetrical rectangle is composed of three sections.
On the east side, spanning two levels, the building features splayed openings of various sizes. On the north and east sides, the upper floor constitutes a gallery composed of six, semi-circular arches, flanked in the corner by a turret with corbelling, topped with a candlesnuffer roof and supported on a large column.
A third level in the central section is enhanced by an increase in the height of the wall on the north side and by the presence, on the south side, of a richly adorned projection which has its own hip roof.
Although the third section is adjoined, it is independent. Spanning two levels with a gently sloping roof, it currently houses a barn and the boiler room.
The main entrance is on the south side, set in the projection. A semi-circular arched door, with a moulded frame, opens on to a monumental stairway. Its arches delimit a so-called “billiards” hall as it is here that the locals from the village came to play. The walls are fully composed of lime-pointed, exposed quarry stone blocks. A cloakroom and a small wine cellar have been laid out under the stairway. Here, there is also a closed door leading to an underground passageway and a 13th century crypt.
On the east side, the large lounge and the small one extending it are separated by two monumental fireplaces, standing back to back. Terracotta floor tiles form motifs between Burgundy stone floor tiles. They blend beautifully with the French ceiling.
A kitchen, with small stone floor tiles and a ceiling featuring exposed …
Le Figaro Properties reference: 22129753